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Press article & pictures below
E-ACT Bristol children step up to boost school accountability
Children at three E-ACT schools across Bristol now have a more active voice to influence the way they are taught and how their schools are run.
Following a pilot last year, the three schools – Ilminster Avenue, Greenfield and St Ursula’s E-ACT Academies now have an established team of six or seven Associate Pupil Governors each. Recently they have just appointed a group of Shadow Associate Pupil Governors’ who will be receiving training this term to take on the roles fully in September.
The new Associate Pupil Governors have been through a rigorous application process to represent their fellow students and contribute towards making lessons more interesting, academy planning and the schools’ own assessment of its progress. The role has been developed to give pupil voice a more formal and independent role in the school.
E-ACT Regional Director Stephen Luke said:
“Our Associate Pupil Governors have the opportunity to move into areas where they can offer real challenge. Our school councils spend their meetings discussing issues around playtimes and snacks, whereas our Associate Pupil Governors focus on teaching and learning.
“Already they have made valuable contributions through their own evaluations of teaching and learning and these are scheduled to be presented to our Heads of School three times a year. Our Associate Pupil Governors really know their academies and understand how they can be improved. They portray a genuine sense of ownership and responsibility that will serve them well as they move to secondary school.”
The first challenge for the pupils is the application process that has been designed to reflect their future life outside of school when they start at college or enter the workplace. Year 6 pupils are requested to respond to an advert in writing in the first place. Applicants are short listed against the requirements identified in the advert and then either invited for interview or given feedback on why they have not been. The interviews include a short presentation and formal questions to a panel that includes existing Associate Pupil Governors. Those selected receive final offer letters in the post and are expected to accept in writing. This year sixty applications were received for seven places in each academy.
School Leadership Partner Susan Theobald has been working with the E-ACT academies to introduce anddevelop the programme. During the pilot she found that:
“Many pupils demonstrated that they were highly motivated to take part in the initiative. They showed that they were quick to develop and to put into practice the skills for evaluating key aspects of learning.
“After analysing the information which they themselves had gathered, they relished the opportunity to present their findings to school leaders. Their recommendations were creative and showed the value of their unique perspective. This has continued this year, although the adults are now able to
step back after the initial training to allow more independence in the groups.”
Associate Pupil Governors at Greenfield Academy had the opportunity to share their views with an Ofsted inspector during a recent Inspection. The report that followed referred to their work:
“In continually looking for ways to improve pupils’ enjoyment and engage them in their education, you have placed a strong focus on listening to the views of parents and pupils. Pupil members of the newly formed associate governing body have completed their own self-evaluation of the academy’s performance. They have compiled a list of key questions which are clearly designed to keep you on your toes.”