New student senate set up to improve integration and give pupils more of a voice

Head girl Eleanor, and deputy head boy Tristan who are keen to improve integration within the year groups

A new student senate has been set up to help tackle a number of school issues identified by the pupils themselves, and led by the Head students.

The rationale behind the introduction of the senate, which consists of 15 students from a diverse range of backgrounds, in addition to the five in leadership roles, was to give the pupils more of a voice which will mean they are more invested in the school as a result, according to Ms Edis.

Some of the key issues which the senate want to prioritise include improving integration between the year groups, and also between the school and the local community; helping year 11’s deal with their GCSEs; redesigning the sixth form study room on MO2, and introducing lockers for sixth form students.

It’s a lot to take on, so how do the head students Eleanor and Yahya, along with deputy head students Megan, Tristan and Glen plan to approach these tasks?

“To tackle these issues we've split responsibility amongst ourselves,” explained Eleanor. “Whilst we can all have an input on each others issues, we are all leading them separately.” She has been assigned the redesign of MO2, as well as assisting the Year 11’s with the stress of GCSEs and time management, though the latter task will be shared with deputy head boy Tristan.

Improving integration within the school is one of the biggest issues the senate plan to tackle head on, and Yahya explained the thinking behind it. “The senate are hopeful of tackling the lack of integration between the younger years, but also between students themselves,” he said. “Our main priority is that people at this school feel interwoven, connected and cared for in a community which provides so much for them individually.

“Another priority of the senate is to really connect with the neighbourhood and bring into perspective new ideas and events which can help bring everyone together.”

One of the key strategies the senate are implementing to improve integration is to pair each head student with an individual year group. “We believed that it would be useful to have a student partnered with each year group because it means that we can communicate more directly with them, allowing us to identify more easily what pupils would like to see happen with the school. I myself have been partnered up with the current year 10s and next year's year 11s because I was already going to be trying to help them with GCSE stress,” said Eleanor.

Yayha added: The idea of matching a student to a year group really brings to life the idea of integration, but also creates a leadership figure for that year group to look up to . This would involve leading certain assemblies with important messages, meeting students within Civitas groups, introducing new concepts and ideas around school , but most importantly being a role model for younger year groups and the behaviour they should expect to emulate. Additionally as a student it was always difficult to talk to a teacher about issues one may face - Thus , having a younger representative available is always helpful for pupils to relate to but also talk to.”

Throughout, the leadership team will be communicating all that is happening with the rest of the senate, who will be helping via the sharing of ideas or in a more hands on manner. Yahya was keen to point out that the 15 strong senate “really has a voice, and ideas are discussed within the group until a sustainable proposal is made which will then go through to being processed and worked on.”

Issues will be tackled based on the time frame they are likely to take with the team categorising all problems into long term and short term issues. “We will then decide which students would be best suited to tackle the issue and match them with others who share the same values.”

As a cohort, the senate will meet weekly to discuss the changes which have been made, any problems which may occur and most importantly new and improved solutions to dealing with them.