Pupil Voice Matters!
Research shows that pupils learn more when they are engaged with their learning in a meaningful and feel consulted about their thoughts and ideas. At Bishopston Primary School we value what our pupils think and actively include them in our decision-making processes.
We have an aim to develop our pupils into:
- ambitious, capable learners
- enterprising, creative contributors
- ethical, informed citizens
- healthy, confident individuals
We are aware in school that we’re educating pupils for jobs that don’t exist yet, we therefore need to develop their confidence by valuing their opinions; teaching them to solve real life problems through collaborating and communicating effectively and developing their mind-set to one which believes in hard work being a crucial part to success.
Here are some of the ways we engage with pupils:
Pupil Inspired Learning
Starting from September 2021 we are taking inspiration from a method called the ‘Leonardo Effect’ where the children are given a single word topic name and they decide where to take the learning. Our first topic is ‘Colours’ and pupils have already spent time considering what interests them that they could learn about using this word as a focus. In addition to this, pupils also have an opportunity to decide how their growing skill set can be used through fortnightly discussions with their teacher. In Foundation Phase the children’s ideas are recorded on a ‘POW Wall’ and in KS2 they are used as challenges that we call ‘Missions.’
Pupil Interview panel
Choosing a new member of staff to join the school is a big decision and that is why we include our pupils in the recruitment process! Applicants take questions from our pupil panel and the children enjoy feeding back on who they would choose for the job and why. All questions are compiled by the pupils themselves and always prove to be revealing! We have had questions such as, “What makes you a good teacher?” to the more probing, “What is your favourite biscuit in the staffroom and why?” This also has the added bonus of giving our pupils an insight into the recruitment process.
School Council Meetings
Two pupils from Y2-Y6 are selected each year to represent the pupils as the ‘School Council.’ This is a very important role requiring the children to put themselves forward as candidates and explain why they would make a good school councillor. Then their classmates vote to decide who represents them. The chosen pupils meet regularly with Mr. Owen and sometimes even report back to governors!
New Curriculum Pupil Voice
We are currently on our journey towards rewriting our school curriculum in preparation for the implementation of the Curriculum for Wales. We want our curriculum to be reflective of our learners and their needs and we have consulted them every step of the way. Mrs Beynon (New Curriculum Lead) interviews pupils from Reception to Year 6 about each area of learning. The pupils are asked what they like about that area, what don’t they like and if they have any ideas how to improve it. These interviews are made into a short film and can be viewed on our school website.
We are a Rights Respecting School
We ensure that the UN Conventions on children’s rights is part of our planning and school ethos. This ensures that the value of children and their opinions is high on our agenda. Unicef’s Rights Respecting Schools Award (RRSA) is given to schools that have put the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) at the heart of its policies and practice. The idea is that the whole school learns about the rights of the child, and embeds these values within leadership and management.
Pupil Voice Sessions
Each child in Bishopston Primary from Y2-Y6 has their say on key decisions and choices throughout the year through our ‘Pupil Voice’ sessions. These take place on a regular basis throughout each term within each classroom. Mr. Owen, along with the wider management team, decides what needs to be discussed as a school and the pupils are given an opportunity to share their viewpoint, ideas and suggestions. The fact this is done in their classroom setting with a familiar adult means that every child will be able to contribute no matter what their level of confidence. Minutes of these meetings are taken either by the teacher or the pupils themselves and are fed back via the school councillors.
At Bishopston Primary we have various committees of pupils responsible for wider aspects of school life. An example of this would be our ‘Criw Cymraeg’ who meet regularly in order to devise ways to promote the use of welsh language within the school. As you enter the school grounds, you may have noticed our beautiful boat ‘Betsea’ which was a project developed by our School Improvement Committee. Pupils are able to choose which committee interests them the most and participate in a mixed age range group.