Earlsfield is a Rights Respecting School, which means we value and ensure the UN rights of the child are met. Article 12 states that: “Every child has the right to express their views, feelings and wishes in all matters affecting them, and to have their views considered and taken seriously.” At Earlsfield we want children to know that their opinion matters and is heard, and we want children to be given the opportunity to be responsible for different aspects of their school life and have an impact on how the school is run.
As a staff, we value the opinions of the children. By giving the children a voice, the children are empowered and have a sense of self-esteem and confidence. They are able to develop personal, social and communication skills through the many pupil roles that are offered.
At Earlsfield, we see Pupil Voice as having two different strands: Pupils as Leaders and Pupil Voice for Change. Pupils as Leaders enable our children to take the lead with different pupil groups around the school, make decisions and have responsibility over how things are done. Pupil Voice for Change involves school leaders and staff listening to the opinions of pupils and using this information to implement change in the curriculum or to evaluate current practice.
Pupils as Leaders:
At Earlsfield, we have a wide range of pupil groups, most of which are self-selected. There are also some pupil groups which are put together by staff, such as the Arts Council and the House Captains. Pupils are encouraged to apply for a role in a group at the beginning of the academic year.
These groups include:
SMART Digital Leaders / Digital Leaders
Pupils As Observers
Once children have decided to apply for a role in a pupil group, they write a manifesto to explain why they would be suitable for the role. This is shared with their class or with the adult who oversees the pupil group. If the role is selected by peers, a private vote is carried out by their classmates to determine who will represent them in that particular pupil group.
Over the year, an adult will support the pupil group in their role around the school, giving guidance when needed. The aim is that the children in the pupil group will lead themselves. Each pupil group gives a half-termly update to the Pupil Voice co-ordinator who shares this with stakeholders. The group is also responsible for updating the Pupils as Leaders display board to enable the rest of the school to see the activities and wok the group does.
Pupil Voice for Change:
Subject leaders will perform pupil voice at different points throughout the year to gather pupil opinions about their subject. Pupil Voice will be carried out when it is relevant and necessary to support subject eaders to implement changes or to evaluate current practice. The questions asked are related to the School Development Plan or to the Subject Action Plan. Subject Leaders conducting pupil voice have a specific document to complete to ensure consistency across the school, as well as a guidance document to support them in conducting pupil voice.
It is important that children understand their role in pupil voice and therefore subject leaders will ensure they explain to the pupils how they will use their answers and opinions. Subject leaders will also share the outcomes of the pupil voice with the interviewed group, as well as the wider school so that all the children can see how pupil opinions are valued and used to improve and change their learning.
Pupil Voice will be collated by the Pupil Voice subject leader termly, in order to look for patterns and key themes that emerge. This will then be shared with staff and actions will be taken if necessary.
Pupil Voice surveys are conducted and analysed towards the end of each academic year. All pupils take the survey giving a good overview of pupils’ views about the school. Negative opinions are taken seriously and children are met with to investigate their concerns or feelings in more detail.
The One Voice Board in the school reception area displays the views and opinions of a range of stakeholders: staff, pupils and the community. The other pupil voice boards will be regularly updated and the pupils in the pupil groups will be able to talk about the work their group has carried out.
Subject leaders will be able to use pupil voice to evaluate their subject and to make changes to their practice. Children will be able to talk about changes and things that have been put in place because of what pupils have said.
Pupil surveys are analysed and the overall picture helps us to think about priorities for the coming year.