The mango trees in African villages, which are often used as central meeting places for the whole community, inspire the Mango model. The Thomas Tallis partnership used the democratic Mango template of ‘home, council and community’ to shape the planning and delivery of school council activities as well as residentials. Young people work together in these groups to discuss and agree decisions and engage in deep reflection, which enables the student voice to be heard in parallel with that of adults.
- Home Groups: students are split into smaller groups of five or six to discuss a particular issue or decision. One or two young people from this home group will represent the views and decisions of their home group. This discussion can take 20-30 minutes.
- Council Group: student representatives from each home group come together to agree a decision about the issue or question in hand. This group is facilitated by one adult coach. The decisions of the Council Group are final.
- Community Group: the whole community comes together to reflect on the outcomes of the previous decision. Potential actions resulting from these outcomes can be debated in home groups before discussing them as a community, with the Council Group then deciding the next steps.
Within these three groups, activities and tasks might be broad (for example, identifying a bigger picture or overarching purpose) or specific (for example, agreeing a budget). There is also time built in to enable semi-structured ‘down-time’ for adults and young people during the residentials themselves.
Like the Critical Skills approach, the Mango model works best when all stakeholders are involved – students, staff, parents and vitally, the residential venue or provider. This collaborative approach to co-construction represents best practice and best value.
More information about the Mango model can be found at Mango CIC.