Many young people are interested in taking responsibility for different aspects of school life, and in doing so develop and practise skills they’ll need later in life, for example in further education or the workplace. Schools have a vital role to play in helping students develop these skills, which they often do by providing supported opportunities for students to lead activities or longer-term projects in an area they find interesting.
The key to successful student involvement in schools is the ability to provide young people with focused tasks that have a real purpose: i.e. they have a genuine impact on their peers’ experiences of school.
Some common examples include:
- class or tutor group reps on a school council – canvassing and reporting back to their ‘constituents’
- student governors – unofficial observers at Governing Body meetings, where appropriate
- student interview panels
- supporting local community councils – for example hosting or being granted time out of school to attend events
- fundraising and special projects – school performances, charity appeals
- leading extra-curricular clubs – Duke of Edinburgh / John Muir awards, sporting and other groups with mixed ages and abilities
- school ambassadors – welcoming visitors , promoting the school at open days, parents’ evenings and external events
- linking with feeder primary schools – easing transition for new Year 7 students
- buddying or peer mentoring
- peer mediation
- playground leaders
- participating in curriculum-integrated activities – student librarians, school newsletter and website, peer tutoring and assisting with day and residential visits.