Each year children can apply to be candidates for the School Council. They campaign and a vote is held. We aim to mirror local and national election processes, so children apply to our ‘electoral role’ and the previous year’s School Councillors become Election Officers to lead the Election of the following year’s Councillors.
The School Council take matters seriously. In Autumn 2018, they led a competition to design their new logo. Over the years they have taken many important decisions such as to host a Fair Trade conference, support a wide range of charities and apply to the Headteacher and Governors for improved resources. They support our School Improvement Plan and have represented our school at local events such as the Exmouth Lights On Act of Remembrance.
In September 2020, School Council revised our election procedures and introduced online voting to ensure we were COVID-safe. The newly-elected officers developed a strategy to ensure every child’s voice would be heard within the School Council by introducing Class Council meetings led by the School Council Representatives. They also introduced the role of Clerk to the School Council which is held by a Y6 child.
Meetings are held twice per half term, the agenda and minutes are produced by the Clerk and shared using the functions on Microsoft Teams. School Councillors then lead their Class Council meetings and feed back to the Clerk through Teams. All the meetings are supported by a member of staff but very much led by the Councillors themselves.
What happens at Election Time?
Every September, last year's School Councilors perform their last role as our elected officers. They run the election for the next School Council.
Working with Mrs Billington, they invite children to join the Electoral Role. Then children can decide to stand as candidates and the campaigning begins!
The previous year's School Council become the Electoral Officers, and Returns Officers. They run the Election themselves.
Everyone on the school's 'electoral role' can vote for up to two candidates in their class.
The Returns Officers count the votes for a class they don't have a relationship with.
The following day, in Collective Worship, the new Candidates are announced and the previous year's School Councilors present the badges and certificates to the new School Councilors.
In September 2020, the Electoral Officers investigated and introduced e-voting to make us Covid-safe and ensure anyone in isolation could still cast their vote.
Do you think we should be e-voting every year?
You can see what our online voting was like by clicking this link. You can complete the online practise vote!
School Council’s Impact - some examples
- Children understand the system of voting for Members of Parliament because we follow the same systems in school when we vote for Councillors each year. Fundamental British Values in Action!
- Children tell us that they think they’re more likely to vote as adults because they understand the process and that it is an important to be responsible citizens who are able to contribute to today’s diverse society.
- Children know their voice is valued, they can and do make a difference.
- The term ‘One Big Beacon Family’ was adopted across our school to help us all come together and support each other in the Pandemic. It was suggested by a child in Year 2 through their Class Council meeting in October 2020.
- Children asked staff to make sure we could all join as One Big Beacon Family for Collective Worship, it’s been live-streamed daily ever since. We regularly have over 50 families joining from home. Some parents join in even when their child has been in school.
- Our Librarians asked for School Councillors’ help to encourage everyone to develop a love of reading. The Librarians and School Councillors visited the Devon and Exeter Institute, a secret library in the heart of Exeter. They led the school and community with celebrations, challenges and a Collective Worship which families were invited to join.
- Councillors are responsible for supporting Meal Time Assistants to ensure our Playtime rotas respect the ideas of all our children and change when it’s time for something different.
- Transition arrangements (moving to your next class) are improved because our children told us what is important to them.
- Videos staff produced in periods of school closure were developed from children’s ideas and things they said which inspired staff.
- Gaining the pupil voice of SEND children improved because the children themselves developed it.