Unless you’re careful student voice structures like school councils can become part of this moaning culture, rather than a solution.
To turn your school council from a moaning shop to something actually useful, you need to make sure your meetings are focussed on action:
- Get people to bring proposals rather than just problems to meetings:
- The problem is ...
- We propose to solve it by doing ...
- Put timings on your agenda
- We will discuss issue X for 10 minutes
- When it’s getting close to ‘time up’ the chair needs to make sure there is a proposal for action, if one can’t be agreed, just move on to the next issue. Don’t let one item take up your whole meeting because you can’t make a decision.
- Make an action plan from each proposal
- Who is going to do ...
- What by ..
- At every meeting you need to quickly go through all the ongoing action plans and check they are being stuck to.
Once people start to see that they’ll get short shrift just moaning, they’ll quickly start trying to come up with solutions.