Competition is seen by some people in education, youth work and team building as a dirty word, but it definitely has its uses. With many groups and individuals it is a great motivating factor and can help you break down some people’s reluctance to join in. As long as you don’t dwell on the winners and losers and instead try to pull out the learning it can be very effective.
One of the problems of school councils is that they’re exclusive, they inherently narrow down the number of people who can get involved. For a structure that’s there to give everyone a voice, that seems like the wrong way to go. On the other hand, having 100 people in a room, let alone 1,000, can make it pretty difficult to get anything done.
So when we were asked to work with Northampton Academy who have over 70 students on their school council we were eager to see how we could make that work. After a bit of head scratching as to how we would approach it I remembered a method for collective action that I’d read about, Open Space.
School staff can sometimes see the school council as a threat or an annoyance. These simple ideas may help you overcome that resistance and win them over.
Bringing on new school councillors can be difficult. Use this simple structure to create a welcome pack and plan for how to support them and get your school council off to a flying start.
A list of tips for anyone running a meeting. Something I came up with for the co-chairs of Haringey Youth Council.
Microsoft is sponsoring places on this online course for teachers.