I recently went to a pupil voice conference, with a variety of workshops run by school council members in the area. I was surprised by one school, who presented their version of pupil voice that wasn’t a school council. The workshop started with a dramatic statement by the head of the primary school stating that their school didn’t have a council because they wanted “to involve all the school.” I was intrigued… Has she not heard of class councils, or year councils?! The students then went to on to explain (in a speech most definitely written by the headmistress) how they approach student voice, wait for it, this is very innovative…… The headmistress and deputy head go to each class once a week and ask if they have any problems and there is also a suggestion box which if you submit your problem, you get a cosy one-to-one with the head to discuss the issue.
It really does seem to hark back to the school dark ages, and shows us that pupil voice still is very neglected in many schools. This school’s attitude really seemed to be: who needs pupil voice when the headmistress can run the whole shebang and not have those pesky pupils putting their ideas across and and getting in the teachers’ way of organising the school.