Hope School 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 Hope 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 Hope, 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.
At Hope, 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. Pupils are encouraged to apply for a role in a group at the beginning of the academic year.
These groups include:
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 (Mr. Gorman) who shares this with stakeholders. The groups are responsible for enabling the rest of the school to see the activities and work the group does.