UNCRC - Article 12: ‘You have the right to give your opinion, and for adults to listen and take it seriously’
At Abbey Court School, ‘Pupil Voice’ is a key focus. We seek ways to listen to the views of our pupils and involve them in decision making so that they are engaged as partners in the life of the school. Through supporting individual communication systems, we encourage pupils to become active participates in a democratic society, by holding a range of activities which develop skills that underpin their right to have an opinion and communicate these effectively and at a level appropriate to them. ‘Pupil Voice’ is embedded into the curriculum, with teaching and learning activities being used to enable pupils to focus on how to make informed decisions about their lives, their health and well-being, the environment and their future.
Pupil Voice groups meet on both Primary and Secondary sites every term, to discuss any topics that are important to them. This provides pupils with the opportunity to express their opinions and to come up with any ideas to improve what we do at Abbey Court.
In previous years, we have provided more outdoor mark making opportunities, added additional lunch time club opportunities and changed policies to better meet the pupils’ requirements.
For example, one of the previous topics for Pupil Voice was ‘Bullying and Harassment’. The groups on both sites explored what ‘bullying’ is and how this is ‘bad’. Pupils identified that they learn about bullying in their PSHE and Citizenship lessons. A survey of pupil views was carried out and key results from the survey were that pupils should tell an adult if they or someone in school is being bullied, say no to bullying and be kind to each other and be friends. All pupils agreed that they don’t think bullying happens at Abbey Court, but they know who to talk to or what to do if they feel unsafe or bullied. Tiffany said that we should, “Tell Ms Joy!” At Primary, the pupils suggested that they make new posters to teach others about bullying and how to stop this from happening. They also suggested that the pupils’ ‘I need help’ card should be personalised to help everyone to access and use this. At Secondary, it was suggested for a ‘Friendship Award’ to be introduced to celebrate friendly behaviour, and for ‘Friendship Monitors’ to support other pupils during social times.
We look forward to exploring different topics this year and seeing some of the suggestions the pupils have to move the school forward. Watch this space for an update!