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Mission One: Pupil Voice ambassadors explain how their academy listens

At the launch of Pupil Voice 2017, we tasked all our Pupil Ambassadors to report back on how pupils’ views are currently represented in their academy and come up with new ideas. Pupil Voice is the link between The Trust and its academies, and helps The Trust to created listening schools where pupils are involved and valued. Here is how Pupil Voice works in some of our academies.

 

Listening academies

All our academies already have mechanisms in place to capture the opinions, ideas and concerns of their pupils. There are lots of ways in which pupils are represented, using different systems such as pupil leaders, house captains, class representatives and head pupils. These pupils feed in to an overall academy council, which then discuss issues and give feedback. These representatives often have to apply for the position and are elected by their peers to represent their views. In many academies, pupil feedback has a direct link to leadership with regular meetings held with senior academy staff. In some academies, the Pupil Ambassadors are part of the academy council and drive Pupil Voice, in others they act to develop the academy and act as a role model to other pupils.

 

Getting feedback

Pupil Ambassadors use many different ways to get feedback and opinion of topics.

  • Assemblies: Pupils at academies including The Hathaway and Pool Hayes speak to pupils in assemblies to tell them about Pupil Voice and feedback on issues
  • Idea boxes: These are in action at Kingsmoor, Norwich Road, Pool Hayes and soon to be introduced at Great Heath. Pupils use them to get ideas from their peers on how to improve the academy and to pose questions about specific topics to which pupils submit responses
  • Pupil survey: A pupil view survey is used by Iceni Academy to capture the thoughts and feelings of pupils
  • Diary room: A novel approach to gauging opinion has been employed at Iceni Academy through the introduction of a diary room, where focused questions are posed fortnightly and discussed

 

Making an impact

Pupil Ambassadors, and all pupils in our academies who represent others, have collected and implemented the ideas of their peers to improve health and wellbeing, raise awareness of issues and give pupils an enjoyable academy experience. Their ideas have made an impact in lots of aspects of the academy life and environment. Here are just some of the changes that have been made:

  • Community and charity: Pupils at Mildenhall have been involved in giving views on the proposed development of the Mildenhall hub, a local development project. Great Heath Academy chose to support the NSPCC and held a Colour Run which raised a fantastic £3,500. Several academies select charities to support and raise funds for national events like Children in Need.
  • Awareness campaigns: Pupils at Jubilee Academy Mossley ran a campaign with pupils and the local community to raise awareness of why energy drinks are bad for us.
  • Academy environment: Pupils at several academies have been influential in changes to their academy environment. The student council at Sutton purchased seating areas and digital clocks out of their designated budget.  Star Academy Sandyford pupils played a vital role in the introduction of electric gates at the front of school. A new adventure playground and equipment has arrived at Sun Academy Bradwell following pupil requests.
  • Health and wellbeing: Changes have been made to the quality, content and choice of school dinners, with some academies suggesting new menu items.
  • Technology: Pupils and digital leaders at Caldmore and Sun academies have produced, created and shared videos to promote eSafety.
  • Buddying: Pupils are supporting other pupils at Great Heath Academy where there is a buddying system and older children listening to younger ones read. At The Hathaway Academy, pupils in year 7 mentor pupils in year 6 who will be joining the academy.
  • Academy life – Jubilee Academy Mossley pupils have helped to interview candidates applying for the role of Principal, whilst pedagogues at The Hathaway give feedback on leaning from a pupil perspective.

 

Sharing stories

The ATT Pupil Ambassadors told us about their role and achievements in lots of innovative ways, and shared these across The Trust using the Ambassadors Portal. Short films were produced including Mildenhall College Academy who made a video to show how a pupil idea can spark a change and Pool Hayes Academy where pupils used green screen technology to tell us about Pupil Voice in their academy. Norwich Road and Kingsmoor academies also created films that have interviews with children and staff about the importance of listening to pupils in the academy.

PowerPoints were created by Star Academy Sandyford which included videos of interviews with pupils and Caldmore Primary Academy did an interview with the Principal. Iceni Academy (primary) sent us photographs of their Student Council and Pupil Voice noticeboard, Great Heath Academy wrote a Pupil Voice newsletter and several others wrote reports on how Pupil Voice works in their academy.

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