School councils and democratic participation

schoolcouncil.jpgIn November 2006 it became compulsory for all primary, secondary and special schools in Wales to set up a school council, which should meet at least 6 times a year.

CEWC was involved in the Welsh Assembly Government’s consultation on this measure, and we contributed to its website, School Councils Wales (now superseded by www.pupilvoicewales.org.uk).

School councils are an important step in enabling children to have a say in decisions that affect them, a right laid down in Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. We believe that every learner should be equipped with the skills to share their views and to collaborate with others, enabling school councils to represent the views of even the most disaffected learners.

Our work on democracy and school councils was funded by the Electoral Commission from 2003 to 2007.

We are also able to provide the following support to schools seeking to set up and maintain an effective school council, or to help learners learn effectively about democracy.

Training for school councillors
We can help learners to communicate confidently and persuasively, act on concerns within school, meet, compromise, and understand democratic systems. This training may be provided in the form of joint staff-learner sessions. Please contact us if you would like to discuss specific course requirements for your school.


Classroom workshops on democracy
We can deliver interactive workshops with individual classes, as well as lectures or presentations to larger groups.


Skills for Democracy teaching pack
This pack is designed to help young people explore and evaluate the skills that they need to participate in democracy. The skills covered, which were short-listed after consultation with 250 young people, are:

Communication
Decision making
Meeting
Compromise
Debate

Learners develop the skills through classroom activities on 6 topics related to democracy: Fairtrade, The Perfect Candidate, The Voluntary Sector, Non-Formal Democracy, The Role of the Media and Devolution. Each activity comprises a lesson plan, a topic information sheet, a skills sheet and any worksheets that may be required. Also included are self-assessment sheets, which use the image of the Greek Parthenon with skills marked on the pillars.

 
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