A school council is a formal group of pupils who act as representatives of their classmates in discussing school issues with the headteacher and staff. Students are elected to represent the views of all pupils and also to improve their school. They help to make decisions about how the school is run and take on projects that support the children’s learning and development, such as organising charity events, representing the school at outside events and fund raising days. School councils are usually elected annually by the other children.
- A school council usually meets with a teacher present to discuss and sort out problems. These could include school lunches, behaviour or ideas for fundraising events.
- Members of the school council are responsible for carrying out the ideas that have been agreed upon, such as planning the activities, writing letters, campaigning , or meeting with catering staff.
- Each year, every class will normally elect two representatives to be members of the school council.
Why have a school council?
There are lots of reasons to have a school council. To begin with, Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) says that children and young people should have a say in decisions that affect their lives. A school council can provide a meaningful way in which pupils can voice their opinions and have their views taken into account in decisions that impact upon them. Evidence and experience from schools all over the country shows that a school council that is supported and nurtured helps to improve many aspects of school life. It’s an important and useful way for schools to provide leadership and development opportunities for their pupils.
Student councils are a great way for students to take on leadership roles, promote the voice of the student body, problem solve and impact their community. A council serves as the voice for an entire student body and actively works with teachers and advisors to promote a better learning environment.
Within the school curriculum, one of the key areas making up the ‘Learning for Life and Work’ theme is active participation. The curriculum requires that young people are provided with opportunities to participate in school and society. School councils are an excellent way in which to increase participation, teaching young people about democracy, local and global citizenship and accountability.