Pupil Voice Policy

May 2017

 

RIGHTS RESPECTING SCHOOL (UNITED NATIONS CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD)

Foreland Fields School is a Rights Respecting School thereby this policy ensures that the following rights are acknowledged:

Article 12 (Respect for the views of the child): When adults are making decisions that affect children, children have the right to say what they think should happen and have their opinions taken into account.

Article 13 (Freedom of expression): Children have the right to get and share information, as long as the information is not damaging to them or others. In exercising the right to freedom of expression, children have the responsibility to also respect the rights, freedoms and reputations of others. The freedom of expression includes the right to share information in any way they choose, including by talking, drawing or writing.

Article 28 (Right to Education): Every child has the right to an education.

 

 

This policy should be read in conjunction with Foreland Fields School’s:

 

 

Introduction

Every effort is made to ensure that pupils at Foreland Fields School are able to communicate. This is commonly through the use of Alternative Augmentative Communication (AAC).  The term AAC is used to describe the different methods that can be used to help people with disabilities communicate with others. As the term suggests these methods can be used as an alternative to speech or to supplement it.

At Foreland Fields School we aim to provide a Total Communication Environment for all of our pupils where all forms of communication should be accepted and used interchangeably e.g. Makaton signing/British Sign Language alongside a Communication Book alongside Speech, etc.

All classroom environments are set up for all forms of communication. Needs-led base classes may also have additional systems set up for the whole class to support and value their specific communication needs.

Pupils and students' EHCP/SSENs detail what individuals require both as standard and ‘above & beyond’ to ensure that their communication needs are met across all aspects of school life.

At Foreland Fields School, we endeavour to consult pupils, individually and collectively, on a range of issues affecting them, whilst ensuring all our pupils have a voice, regardless of age, need or ability.

We ensure that questions asked of pupils are accessible to them, both in terms of the complexity of questions and the language used, and use photographs, symbols, objects of reference and other means to support understanding.  Where pupils are unable to engage with the questions asked, advocates, who are class staff that have a particularly good knowledge of particular pupils, answer questions on the pupils’ behalves, based on their observations, knowledge and understanding of them. For example, in response to the question, “What is your favourite lesson”, an advocate could respond “Food Technology, as this is the lesson in which the pupil shows the most positive reactions, smiling at the various tastes given”.

 

 

Pupil Questionnaires

We regularly ask for the views of pupils and students on a wide range of issues including safeguarding, online safety, their favourite and least favourite lessons, playtimes/breaks, foods, how they travel to school, what makes them happy in school and what makes them sad or frightened in school? We use this as an opportunity to monitor our standards and procedures which can then lead to the identification of whole school areas of focus and/or targets. 

 

 

Pupil Involvement in Annual Reviews

We involve the majority of pupils at their Annual Review meetings. Pupils in Key Stage 1 and above fill in a short questionnaire prior to the meeting, some with the help of an advocate. They are able to say what they like and dislike about school and what lessons they are good at and, where able, suggest possible areas they would like to do better in.  Most pupils attend at least part of the meeting, many greatly enjoying being told about their progress, whilst some pupils are now attending the whole meeting.

Pupils in Year 9 and above are invited to participate in their Transition Reviews in which their views about their future, both within school and beyond, form an integral part of the meeting.

At Foreland Fields School we ensure that our pupils and students are consulted and have a voice, individually and collectively, about matters that affect them.

 

As our pupils move towards adulthood, big decisions have to be made about a range of issues including their future education/work, where they will live, leisure activities and decisions related to medical or therapeutic treatment. In line with the Mental Capacity Act (2005), wherever possible, our pupils should participate in these discussions and be involved in the decision making process.

 

 

Pupil Choice

Pupils are offered the opportunity to make choices throughout the school day. This includes a choice of lunch for those who have school dinners, a choice of enrichment activities and, for pupils in Key Stage 4 and 6th Form, choices related to areas of study. We believe that a child who is skilled at consciously making choices will better understand their own needs and gain a sense of control over their own life. As they get older children make bigger decisions that often involve their family, their friends and their schoolwork. The kinds of decisions children make affect their wellbeing, their relationships and their success.

 

 

School Council

We relaunched our School Council in December 2015. The school council has 12 members, three from each department of the school. Meetings are currently held around every 2-3 weeks. This is due, in part, to the council's involvement in the move of school. It is planned that meetings will, in future, be held once every term – 6 times a year.

All meetings have an agenda, which is distributed to members prior to the meeting, and minutes are kept of meetings to refer back to. All minutes are presented in Communicate in Print in order to ensure they are accessible to pupils and students.

As the wide age range and varying needs of our pupils can make it hard to discuss issues in depth in this forum, some of the discussion on issues we are consulting pupils on will take place in classes, at appropriate levels, with a vote being taken within the class or at a departmental assembly. Class and/or departmental representatives bring the views and votes to the council meeting in order to ascertain the whole school view.

In the past pupils have been consulted on a range of matters including the menus for school lunches, the colour of the Christmas decorations and activities at the summer Sports’ Days. More recently school council members have had the final say on the name for the new school, chosen the school logo and had input into the provision within the new school, for example a 6th Form Common Room.  

 

 

Pupil Involvement in staff appointments

We believe it important that pupils have a say in the staff that support them within school. Pupils regularly take part in the selection of teachers, including the appointments of a new Headteacher, Deputy Headteachers and Heads of Department. Pupils are asked who would like to be involved in the interview process, or often this is a responsibility of the school council. They are asked what they would like to ask candidates and are given the opportunity to practise asking questions before the interview itself. Even where the questions do not relate strictly to the job, the way that the candidates deal with the questions and interact with and relate to pupils gives valuable insight into their character.

Following the interview, representatives vote on their favourite candidate and this information is then taken into account by the staff interview panel when making their final appointment decision.

 

May 2017

 

Governing Body Approval

Scrutinised by the Resources Team on 5th June 2017

Ratified by the Strategy Team on 20th June 2017

To be scrutinised by the Learning and Disability Team every 3 Years or as changes in legislation/policy dictates.

To be ratified by the Strategy Team thereafter.

To be displayed on main School Web Site? Yes

 

 

Term Dates
Headteacher Welcome