Pupil Voice and Leadership
Pupil voice refers to the impact, value and power pupils have over matters that affect their lives. Bengeworth CE Academy believes that children and young people should have opportunities to express their opinion in matters that affect their lives. Some of the benefits of involving children and young people in school decision-making are:
- It encourages pupils to become active participants in a democratic society by holding pupil parliament and committee meetings which develop skills such as co-operation and communication and encourage them to take responsibility.
- It contributes to achievement and attainment - young people involved in participative work benefit in a range of different ways. Increased confidence, self-respect, competence and an improved sense of responsibility have all been reported by young people who contribute in school. Schools also report increased motivation and engagement with learning.
Bengeworth CE Academy believes that it is the responsibility of educators to work with pupils to build a well-balanced group of pupils who are supported in developing their identities and individual voices so they can vocalise matters that are important to them.
- To foster leadership skills within pupils and provide opportunities for these skills to develop.
- To ensure school leaders are aware of pupil perspectives on teaching, learning and school operations.
- To enable pupils to play an active role in decision-making on matters that are important to them.
- To give all pupils across the school a voice to share their opinions and ideas.
One way pupil voice is implemented at Bengeworth CE Academy is through its pupil leadership groups. We have 7 pupil leadership groups which sit within our ministries, each with their own area to lead.
At the start of each academic year, pupils put themselves forward to be a part of a leadership group, with a democratic vote held for pupils and staff to elect the members of each group. Each pupil leadership group is joined by 2 members of Pupil Parliament who act as spokespeople between the different groups, staff and the school to ensure that everyone knows the focus of the work of each group.
Every fortnight, pupil leadership groups meet together with their facilitating teacher to plan and carry out work towards their goals. Whilst the groups are meeting together, the children who remain in class participate in a pupil leadership session to explore the attributes of good leaders. Each year group has an inspirational leader which helps the children to see the attributes that they are focusing on in real life examples.
At the end of every half term, Pupil Parliament meet at a Pupil Leadership Summit, alongside the pupil leadership groups, school leaders and governors, to discuss their goals and to share the progress made towards achieving them.
Bengeworth's Pupil Parliament members and staff share responsibility for areas of School Development under the direction of two elected Prime Ministers who report to the staff Leadership Team and Governing Body each half term. This ensures that our children have a thorough understanding of democracy, as well as a real stake in the success of their school. All members of Pupil Parliament are assigned to other pupil leadership groups across 3 ministries to support them in achieving their goals.
Ministry for Health and Wellbeing
Bengeworth CE Academy achieved our Bronze Eco Award in 2011 and achieved our Silver Eco Award in 2018. Children, staff and governors are committed to meeting the Green Flag standards in partnership with other local schools.
Our school Eco Council meets fortnightly as part of the pupil leadership sessions and consists of children from both school settings. During the sessions the children evaluate our collective approach to sustainability and plan how we can improve as an ‘eco friendly’ school.
The Digital Leaders' Programme aims to empower children and young people to champion digital citizenship and digital creativity within school and to educate their peers, parents and teachers about staying safe online.
At Bengeworth, our Digital Leaders meet on a fortnightly basis to discuss whole school projects, such as Safer Internet week. They undertake computing equipment audits, support their peers using their embedded knowledge training and are working on projects which will further upskill and educate them upskill their peers using Apple products.
House Captains/Sports' Council
Bengeworth's House Captains form our school's Sports' Council and take an active part in the pupil leadership development at our school. Voted for by staff following self-nomination, House Captains act as role models for others, both in everyday school life and through their enjoyment and promotion of sport. The House Captains also lead playground pupil leadership development through the establishment of play leaders, as well as supporting the planning of inter-house competitions which contribute to presentation of the House Cup which is awarded at the end of each half term.
Mental Health Ambassadors
The Mental Health Ambassadors are a group of Year 4 and 5 pupils who are responsible for promoting mental health as a part of every day school life. They make recommendations and put into action their ideas of how the school could develop and improve its mental health support for all pupils. They previously run fundraising activities to ensure each class had its own 'Calm Corner' and are currently focused on improving lunchtimes for all pupils. The Mental Health Ambassadors represent the whole school and will capture the views of a range of pupils prior to leadership meetings. Through training, the team have been able to develop an understanding of what good mental health is and promote the importance of this.
Ministry for Charity and Partnership
Bengeworth's Events' Team members and staff take an active role in promoting and supporting national and local charities and events. They meet fortnightly to discuss and identify events which can be supported in school and choose the ones that are important to our school community. All members of the team are assigned roles to support one another and, through experience and training, have developed a clear understanding of how to organise a successful whole school event.
Ministry for Curriculum, Teaching and Learning
Our Learning Ambassadors are chosen every half term and are leaders within the classroom who consistently demonstrate our school values and outstanding learning behaviours. They are role models for other pupils, as well as ambassadors for their class and the wider school, greeting visitors, sharing the learning that is taking place in the classroom and explaining what it means to be a pupil at Bengeworth CE Academy.
The Worship Team are responsible for ensuring that our school values of Respect, Perseverance, Friendship, Responsibility, Trust and Forgiveness are communicated and understood. Each morning they set up the hall environment for School Worship, ensure that pupils are demonstrating values through their behaviour and more widely evaluate how well Worship impacts on the Christian distinctiveness and spiritual development of children and adults across the school.
The Worship Team also lead our Values Champions' assembly at St Peter's Church every half term. During this special assembly, the Worship Team announce the recipients of the values champions' medals which are awarded to children as a result of a peer voting system within classes.
At Bengeworth CE Academy, all of our pupils are considered to be leaders and therefore seek to involve children in the monitoring of behaviour across the school, through which leaders are able to collate pupil voice with regard to current strengths and areas for development. This informs policy change and development as well as professional learning development for staff. Because we follow a Relationship Based Behaviour Policy, restorative conversations form an important part of our response to poor behaviour. This allows children to take responsibility for their behaviour choices and to be supported by the adults in school to use these incidents as a learning opportunity.
Language Leaders at Bengeworth are chosen to represent the different cultures of children who speak English as an additional language. The meet fortnightly to discuss ways in which they can highlight and celebrate the diverse cultures and languages spoken within our school.
In addition, our Language Leaders play a vital role in the induction and support for both parents and children who join our school who may need key information translating or explained.