Young people representing 21 schools within the multi-academy trust joined together for our first ever pupil voice event. Schools from across Devon, Hampshire, and Kent had young spokespeople sharing ideas and suggestions.
The event came about following the Trust’s mission to transform life chances and provide a child-first approach. Discussions about bringing its schools together to build a stronger pupil voice led to this exciting opportunity which saw more than 40 pupils from both primary and secondary schools represent their peers and help shape the future of their schools and the trust.
Pupils discussed matters around climate change and protecting the planet, improving the food services available at school, the use of thinking tools within lessons, and how pupils can have a greater voice in deciding what charities their school supports.
These events are now planned to take place several times a year and include attendance from the Trust’s CEO, Stuart Gardner.
Kelly Denton, a member of the Senior Management Team at the Thinking Schools Academy Trust, praised the children and young people for their contribution to the meeting
She said: “It was fantastic to see schools from across all of our hubs which span the South West and South East England, come together to discuss matters that are really important to them.
“Our schools have a strong pupil voice and this virtual meeting provided an exciting opportunity to discuss topics beyond the boundaries of Trust. The children understand there is something quite special when they speak up and have their voices heard in a large-scale context, so it was brilliant to see everyone enjoying this”.
The school council members agreed on suggestions made about placing more recycling bins around their schools and in the playgrounds, while another group of pupils suggested litter pickers would be a good addition.
As for supporting charities, schools from across the Trust agreed it would be good for each school to have their own charity to support, while coming together as a ‘Hubs’ to support one larger charity.
Simon Underdown, Headteacher at Plymouth High School for Girls, who leads on the pupil voice at the multi-academy trust, said: “I’d like to thank all of the young people and staff for what they have done to make this event a success. The quality of the discussions and the way student leaders reported back to the larger group was very impressive. Pupils had really thought about the topics in advance and their ideas and feedback has been so helpful.”
“It’s amazing to see everyone come together for a country-wide pupil voice event and discuss topics that really matter. These important points will now be documented and shared with all schools in the Trust. Student leaders will also have the chance to present to the board of directors for the Trust. This is a primary example of top-level conversations being influenced by the opinions of young people which is fantastic”.