Great ideas from Brno for effective school council meetings

School council meeting in Brno

The screen at the top of the photo was used to display images of the topics being discussed when appropriate, the rest of the time the minutes were displayed there as they were typed up.

Today we’re sitting in Masarova School in Brno, the Czech Republic’s second city. Again we’ve been lucky to witness an excellent school council meeting, albeit one that was very different to the one we saw yesterday.

This meeting was more formal, not least in the room layout,but there was still a good deal of respect and understanding between the pupils. Again, the range of issues they covered was impressive and would ring bells for UK school councils: communication with the whole school, school dinners, fundraising, the school council’s budget and how to get more teachers involved with the school council.

There were a few things that stood out to us as useful ideas that other school councils could use:

Have the minutes displayed as they are being typed. This allows everyone to see that they are being recorded accurately and see that an action plan has been agreed – if you use action-focused minutes.

The three chairpeople

The three chairpeople supported one another well and ensured that virtually everyone (22 out of 24 school councillors) contributed during the meeting.

Have people in supporting roles. There were three chairs and two secretaries. One person took the lead as each but the others helped out and ensured that everyone was seen and all notes were taken down.

Don’t just choose the oldest students to chair. In this school the three chairs seemed to be some of the youngest people in the meeting, but they were enthusiastic and did an excellent job of moving the discussions along.

Have large name badges for everyone in the room. All teachers and students had these and it meant the secretaries could easily record who was doing what.

Print out the minutes at the end of the meeting to give to everyone so they know what was discussed and what their action points are.

The two secretaries

The two secretaries typed up the minutes as the meeting was going and they were projected on to a screen that everyone could see. At the end of the meeting they printed out the minutes for all the school councillors.

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