5 - Student voice (“Nothing about us without us”)
NICE guidance recommends that:
“Partnerships should be developed between young people and staff to formulate, implement and evaluate organisation-wide approaches to promoting social and emotional well-being. There should be a variety of mechanisms to ensure all young people have the chance to contribute to decisions that may impact on their social and emotional well-being. Young people should be involved in the creation, delivery and evaluation of training and continuing professional development activities in relation to social and emotional well-being.”
At Clare Mount Specialist Sports College we achieve this by having a well embedded school council with representatives from each year group who work collaboratively with staff to ensure that student voice and opinion is heard. Additionally we have developed a team of Rights Respecting School Ambassadors and a Healthy Lifestyle Champions team, each of which represents the whole student body to inform whole-school strategy and actions in the area of mental health and emotional wellbeing. We encourage and support pupils to be active contributors to their own learning as this is proven to provide pupils with a sense of belonging, encourages positive relationships and improves self-esteem. These protective factors support young people’s mental health now and into adulthood.
The impact of student voice is not merely pupils hearing their own opinions but more the reality of how others including other pupils, teachers and staff respond to young people’s voices and work with them to make ideas materialise. Therefore, the opportunity for pupils to shape their experience of school must be a real one and not a manufactured or simulated one.
5.2 Individual Student Information (‘Big Buttons’)
The individual student information system is a collection of data about each one of the students here at Clare Mount Specialist Sports College and is used as a central point that stores information about the individual. It consists of the students current; attendance, individual education plan (IEP), one page profile, current attainment tracker, primary to secondary transition statement and, if required, any risk assessments or support plans. The system has a positive impact on student wellbeing as it allows staff to quickly and efficiently find information regarding students likes and dislikes, individual challenges and the best ways to support socially, academically and emotionally. Student voice is also well embedded in the system, in particular the one page profile, which is a document produced by the student themselves and details information such as; ‘Things that are important to me’, ‘Fantastic things about me’ and ‘ways that you can best support me’. Also, within the students IEP they are encouraged to list any hobbies or clubs that they take part in outside of school time and are supported by staff to set their own ‘personal and social development’ target, which in turn gives them ownership of their personal development and has a positive SEMH impact once this has been achieved.
- Key areas
- At Clare Mount Specialist Sports College we allow pupils to have an authentic voice in teaching and learning, this is done through work with the school council and other processes such as focus groups, questionnaires and consultations.
- Other participatory groups include, peer mentors, Rights Respecting Schools Ambassadors and Healthy Lifestyle Champions
- There is clear evidence of structures being in place so that pupils can be involved in decision making and this include all pupils including those with additional needs.
- Once every two years EVERY student at Clare Mount Specialist Sports College undertakes a survey: ‘Fit to Succeed’ designed by the Schools and Students Health Education Unit (SHEU). This is a comprehensive survey enabling school staff and students to track health behaviours of individuals, small groups or whole-year cohorts. The survey, which has been comprehensively verified and peer-reviewed over many years informs the work of the school’s Health and Well-being steering group. Actions generated from this process over the years have led to:
- An overall improvement in the delivery of health curricula (including SEMH)
- Better eating habits amongst students and staff
- Better access to water
- Improved activity levels of students and staff including the least active
- School campaigns
- The school’s ‘learn to swim’ and ‘learn to ride’ (cycling) programmes
- The introduction of the COPE curriculum
- ‘Active in Mind’ Intervention and mentoring team