What does Pupil Voice look like at Shirley Heath Junior School?
Children are provided with the opportunity to voice their views, ask questions and raise issues throughout their daily registrations and lesson times.
Regular School Council meetings are led by a staff member where issues are raised, decisions made and changes implemented thus shaping school life. The whole school can contribute to this process through their classroom suggestion boxes. Classes vote for their two council representatives. The council decides which issues need further discussion by each individual class. The council takes suggestions from the whole school for the charity they wish to support each year.
This year it is ‘Make a Wish UK’ but we also take suggestions as to which local or national events need support throughout the year e.g. Comic Relief. Suggestions from class boxes are discussed and implemented for instance the children requested a school pet to be used in a variety of ways- mental health support for anxious children, reward time and developing a sense of responsibility. Due to this pupil voice, we now have Nugget and Nibbles our guinea pigs.
Children’s voice is also important when reviewing our policies and procedures. The children helped with our Mental Health and Well-Being Charter, their voice was heard when updating this post pandemic.
Our Year 6 children make excellent ambassadors for our school during our Open Days and Evenings. They independently and personally voice the many positive aspects of our school, environment and community during parent tours; their pupil voice shows they are clearly proud of their school.
When recruiting new teachers to our team, School Council Representatives are a fundamental part of the process, interviewing potential candidates and expressing their views to the interviewing panel.
Pupil voice is also heard through daily assemblies, whether that is whole school, phase or class- the children at Shirley-Heath share an ethos of contributing ideas, listening to others and caring for each other. The values and ethos of our school reflect the commitment of pupil and parent voice as their suggestions resulted in our choice of values to promote- RESPECT- responsibility, equality, safety, perseverance, empathy, curiosity and truth.
Within our school family, we have groups who need support to contribute and voice their opinion. Children who have not developed the confidence or do not have the language skills to express their voice, can be heard through the support of Teaching Assistants, Teachers and their ‘Think Books’ where they can express any views to a single audience. Children can also voice any concerns through booking a session in ‘Place to Talk’ where an adult can listen and support with any issues. Children who need support to engage with school life are heard and supported through our Pastoral Manager and Learning Mentor. Peer support is also offered through Peer Mediators at break times and lunchtime buddies.
We have an open door policy; parents and children are welcome to voice their opinion at all times. For some children this takes the form of a one to one or small group intervention with our Pastoral Manager. Children are listened to in a more informal setting such as through the use of a garden, play and art activities. Parents’ views and concerns are resolved in this way. Parents can also contribute any ideas through the Parent Forum.
At Shirley-Heath we take opportunities throughout the year to promote pupil voice such as during Anti-bullying week, well-being days and pastoral workshops.
Through this partnership with children, parents and staff, we ensure that every voice is heard and every idea valued. Through the promotion of pupil voice, Shirley Heath Junior School are proud to develop confident, thoughtful and well-rounded individuals, equipping them for their futures with the necessary listening and discussion skills.