Student voice at Newport High School is a means of involving students in the organisational structure of the school andÂ engaging them in the school community. Its aim is to develop an effective way to help transform education from the âbottom upâ, through the co-construction of learning.
Student voice at our school includes the following activities:
- Student councils
- Student focus/action groups
Input into teaching and learning
- Student researchers
- Student observations
- Curriculum co-construction
- House Blogs
Supporting each other
- Peer mentoring
The Student Voice is an opportunity for every pupil to have their voice heard with every form in our school having representatives. At KS3 we have 4 reps in each form and at KS4 we have 3 reps in each form. This gives a combined total of 124 pupils having their âvoices heardâ and listened to.
Meetings take place the first week of every half term when one agenda point is voted on and fed through to the School Council where it is discussed/acted upon on at whole school level. All points discussed are fed back through the next house meeting, by e-mail and also in house/year assemblies. The latest technological development is feedback through the house blogs on the school website.
The School Council
The School Council at Newport High School is group of students who are elected to represent the views of all pupils and to improve our school.
Over the last two years, the amount of input that pupils have had to developing school issues and contributing to school improvement has improved dramatically. Last year the Student Voice had meetings with Leadbitter to have their say on what they wanted in the new school. Leadbitter gave the school council the responsibility of designing all of the signs for the various areas around the school as well as installing the individual lockers requested by our students.Â
The Student Council has now become actively involved with teaching and learning at Newport High. Staff have developed a âNewport 9â which is nine expectations that staff should try to adhere to every lesson. The student voice has taken this one step further where they have developed this into a pupil version of the âNewport 9â.
Pupils have observed staff teaching lessons and have completed feedback forms to be discussed at the working party. This initiative is now in the final stages of development and will soon be sent to the Head teacher for approval. Over twenty observations of staff by pupils have taken place in the last three months with all pupils saying that it was a really positive and valued learning experience.
One of the major focuses for the Student Council last year was the design and development of the new schoolâs catering facilities. Some of the measures implemented are listed below:
- MTV playing on the projector to give a relaxed atmosphere fit for teenagers.
- A snake-like queuing system to avoid congestion.
- A âgrab and goâ style baguette bar.
- Suitable seating arrangement both inside and outside the building.
- A healthy eating approach where chips are only served once a week as part of a meal, no salt as an added extra, only crisps and chocolate served that contain a baked element.
- A split lunch to accommodate all pupils and avoid overcrowding.
- Staff eating alongside pupils.
- Food served on plates to reduce packaging.
- Plenty of payment points to avoid delays at the till.Â
School Nutrition Action Group (SNAG)
The SNAG group is a school based alliance in which our staff, pupils and caterers, supported by health and education professionals work together to review and expand the range of food and drink in order to increase the uptake of a healthier diet and ensure consistent messages from the curriculum and the food service.The SNAG is run as company with a Chairperson, Secretary and promotions team.Â
One idea from the SNAG team is themed days in the Food Court. An example of this idea is âa taste of Italyâ where most of the food on offer is of an Italian base. There are also key words in Italian around the Food Court and also flags to help promote the atmosphere.
Another idea that the SNAG have developed for younger pupils is Rainbow Day. Pupils pick a colour for the day and they have to bring in a fruit and vegetables to be consumed at break time on the day e.g. red, pupils could bring in apples, plums, strawberries, peppers, tomatoes etc.
PACT (Partnerships and Communities Together)
PACT is the name given to partnership and community engagement, held at neighbourhood level to enable members of local communities to highlight their concerns and identify priorities for their Neighbourhood Policing Teams and to other partner members to address.At Newport High School representatives who live in the wards of Bettws and Malpas meet with local police officers monthly to discuss the issues that matter to our students. The PACT team also attend the full community PACT meetings to represent Newport High and have been successful in resolving some key local issues outside school.
The Youth Work in Schools (YWIS) project was the first to deliver a learning programme in the brand new Newport High School.YWIS were asked by the High School to deliver the ASDAN accredited Peer Mentoring Programme to some of its older students. Our Year 7 and 8 now benefit by having access to older mentors who can help them with their problems and issues both in and out of school.
Â To find out more about Student Voice across Wales, visit http://www.pupilvoicewales.org.uk/