The Student Council – Speaking Out at Dawn House
Ensuring the voice of children and young people with speech language and communication needs (SLCN) is heard is imperative to their development and progress. That is why I CAN’s Dawn House School in Nottinghamshire promotes an active student council.
We spoke to some of the Dawn House School students, to find out what they thought about the effectiveness of the student council. Below are some of their responses.
Can you tell us why you have a student council at Dawn House School?
It gives students a voice in the school, which is important so staff members know what students want. This helps make it a healthier learning environment. It means that problems the children want solving get sorted out, as the council gets the student’s opinions on most things. It feels like the school is run more like a democracy and not a dictatorship. In order to best look after our school, it’s important to listen to the students.
Why do you like being on the school council?
Because we get the opportunity to speak out, it helps give us the confidence to talk to other people. It gives students a voice, which helps the school. We get to meet loads of important people and sometimes we get biscuits! We like how it changes things around school.
What sort of things do you talk about at your student council?
We talk about bullying, and other behaviour issues that we think needs to change. We address general things that need to be sorted out, like outside equipment, toilets, painting and decorations. We also talk about how to improve the school and change things for the better, for example we get to taste and offer feedback on new school meals.
What has the student council helped with at Dawn House School?
We’ve held anti-bullying assemblies, which has helped tackle bullying. It’s helped support and inform chimes (a one-on-one learning provision). Rooms have been repainted at the councils request and things like toilet doors have been fixed. In general the school has been made better.
At I CAN, we believe that working collaboratively with students and young people in the discussion not only benefits their education and development, but by giving them the opportunity to speak out it also boosts their confidence and self-esteem. This also teaches them the importance of being proactive in their communities, and changing their environment for the better.
Children’s speech and language specialist, Sue Roulstone, offers some top tips in ensuring pupil voice in our latest blog.