Our schools council plays an important role in making changes and it provides the opportunity for students to express their suggestions and feedback of our school. Brighouse High has a very successful council that really values students which has led to many suggestions becoming a regular part of the school day/community. Our council consists of several students from each year council. They can therefore relay information their year group have discussed. We also have several Year 11 prefects that have joined the council to help chair and organise sub groups. We have also undergone a whole day of training so that sessions will be organised appropriately.
What is School Council? A year 7 perspective….
Hello, I am going to be explaining about the class reps and how it all works. We work as messengers. People in our form tell us their point of view and problems they think are occurring within the school. We then go to the ‘Year Council’ meetings with our Assistant Head of Year and tell him/her what is going on. Once we have discussed everything, the information is passed to Mrs Cresswell the head teacher, about the problems or feedback and Mrs Cresswell deals with them appropriately.
How to become a class rep?
To become a class rep all you have to do is volunteer yourself at the elections within your form group at the beginning of the year. You will have a vote and your form tutor will announce the outcome. Some form tutors may ask you to write and present a short speech before the vote explaining why people should vote for you.
Why become a class rep?
Becoming a class rep means you can put yours and others voices across and get your voice heard. For year 7’s especially, it is a great way to put your input in to the school.”
School Council Training
All students took part in an intensive day of training down at 6th form. Students developed their ability to work together in groups and with students from different year groups. As well as developing the skills to lead their own council meetings and plan projects to bring about the changes they wanted to see.
Since the training, students have met once every half term as a ‘Whole School Council’, the Head boy and girl and deputy head boy and girl are leading the groups. The Head boy and girl alternating the role of chairing the meetings and taking the minutes.
The school council decided on 4 main topic areas and members of the council assigned themselves to the relevant sub-groups depending on the topic they would like to work on.
Once the 4 sub-groups where created, students began to plan the group aims and deadlines. Groups are meeting during tutorial and these are organised by the group leaders.
Mental Health and Wellbeing
The mental health and wellbeing group have had meetings with Mrs Naylor and they are also looking at further developing the topic mental health awareness in L4L lessons. A questionnaire was completed by all form tutor groups to assess how much people are aware of what mental health means.
Anti-Bullying (Bully-free School)
The anti-bullying group have sent out questionnaires and met with Mrs Naylor to see how this important message can be further developed throughout the school. The outcome of the questionnaire was pupils feel bullying is not seen very often, pupils feel they can report or discuss issues with staff, any incidents are dealt with quickly and they feel supported by the school. They plan to infiltrate this through L4L sessions and assemblies. The next stage is to make an anti-bullying video using students from all year groups passing on the national statistic and what pupils can do if they want to report bullying. The anti-bullying page on the school website will also be updated to make it pupil friendly.
Calmer, Colourful and Safer School
The calmer, colourful and safer school group have focussed directly upon colours and how they impact the way students feel. Students ideas have been listened to and consequently, the proposal is going ahead to change the colour of the walls on the corridors and research what colour theme we will have throughout school.
Social Spaces and Fundraising
The social space and fundraising group have identified areas where more furniture is desired for students to have a relaxing social space and are planning fundraising events next term to raise money for this furniture.
Rebecca Udal (Head Girl) & Haydon Faulkner (Head Boy)
2015- 2016 projects
The school council brought forth the issue that the toilets at school were outdated and unpleasant. The school asked its art department if they were willing to make the toilets more pleasant for the students. To our luck, they were able to completely refurbish the toilets for the beginning of last year.
Our council accomplished many goals set at the beginning of the year. One of the focuses last year was homework, voiced by many students stating they had so much homework they were failing to meet deadlines and year 11’s were unable to find time to revise. As a result, our school quickly implemented a consistent system that teachers set the homework giving students space between homework and when to expect it. This is regularly checked in school council meetings to make sure the system is working.
The school always wants to make sure all students feel safe and secure in their school environment. The idea that some students may not go to staff for help or report incidents in fear of being seen by other students or that they would not stay anonymous. We came up with the idea of a letter box type design outside each pastoral office and to call it the ‘Respect Box’ linking it to our new BfL ethos. Students now have the ability to file (if they wish) anonymous statements to help staff put pressure on bullying, or a student getting help for any kind of issue they face (even home life), or to inform staff of something successful to celebrate. We shared this method of helping students at a meeting at Huddersfield University called ‘Student Voice Symposium’ with other high schools from Calderdale, along with taking away ideas we hope to implement soon.
The school has also put in place the R.E.S.P.E.C.T system that aims to reward positive behaviour and tackle low level disruption. When a student has been sent outside the classroom, they are given a respect card so they can reflect on what they have done and how they can fix it to get the best out of their time at Brighouse High School.
The R.E.S.P.E.C.T system also takes a positive approach to time in the classroom, giving each student a point each lesson. Pupils who meet the respect ethos earn a point and there are five types of points to be earned; lesson, curriculum, behavior & attendance, community and extra-curricular.
Last year we were also able to begin discussions of the proposed new cafeteria design and purpose. The new cafeteria is hoped to reduce queues of people entering the original cafeteria at break and lunch time. It was placed at the back of the school in October and is currently awaiting for the school councils decision on what it should be ‘wrapped’ in.
2016- 2017 projects
Mental Health group decided to focus on ‘raising awareness’ of different mental health issues; to help students distinguish between SEN and Mental Health issues; and distinguish between a bad experience and mental health problems. They designed a questionnaire and used the results to plan a series of L4L sessions during a “Brighouse High Mental Health Week”. This project will run through into the next school year.
Anti-Bullying group chose to focus on LGBTQ and wanted a “Brighouse LGBTQ week”. They wanted to raise awareness about different types of sexuality and reduce common stereotypes.
The group met with Mrs Naylor (L4L Lead) to discuss planning a week of L4L sessions.
They also met with Barnardo’s LGBTQ team to seek advice.
This project will run through into the next school year.
Life Skills group chose to focus on further developing Sex Education for all year groups. They gathered information from pupils on some of the topics they would like more information about. Followed by a meeting with Mrs Naylor in regards to developing/updating Sex Ed in L4L sessions. Resources and video clips were changed and L4L lessons now use these resources. During one of the Super Learning Days year 9 will also have a session focusing on specific sex education topics.
Transition group chose to create a video from a Y7’s perspective of Brighouse High school; including, a tour around school, a view of practical lessons and some interviews with the next Head of Year and possible form tutors. Students have created a plan on what they will video and in what order.
Another project which was discussed last year is the ‘cycle to school’ and the possibility of pupils cycling to school. A training programme has now been designed and Mr Geall is working with Calderdale Council to deliver a level 3 Bikeability type training course for pupils who want to cycle to school. The training will be offered to 12 pupils in KS3 & 4 and this will include pupils having their route to and from school planned for them. The training is planned to go ahead in the summer term 2018.