Student Leadership Opportunities | Highcliffe School

Student Leadership Opportunities

At Highcliffe School  it is really important that all students feel they are represented and valued. Not only is it a fundamental tenet of the Department for Education’s Guidance on promoting British values in schools (2014) that "all pupils within the school have a voice that is listened to", but it is also an inherent part of our school values.

We recognise that “young people involved in participative work benefit in a range of different ways.” (DfE: Listening to and involving children and young people: 2014) As well as having a material impact on the school experience for themselves and other students, being a student representative leads to “increased confidence, self-respect, competence and an improved sense of responsibility” (Ibid). Whatever students might go on to do in the future, participating in the Student Leadership team offers a vast range of experiences which help to prepare students for the wider world.

We want to make sure that student leadership at Highcliffe offers students a  fulfilling and rewarding experience, with real opportunities to make change. Therefore we are introducing a new model of student leadership across the school from September 2022. This has been designed to be a more consistent, inclusive and purposeful approach, designed to support students to "become valuable and fully rounded members of society who treat others with respect and tolerance, regardless of background." (DfE: Guidance on promoting British values in schools: 2014)

What does the new student leadership model look like?

After consultation with a range of students and staff, this is the new model that has been designed to enable students to really contribute to the development of the school and have opportunities to gain valuable skills. As you can see in the diagram, student representatives in years 7-12 will be involved not just in their year group (as with the current year councils) but also across the whole school in specific cross-school focus groups. 

The idea behind this is to maintain the existing opportunities for year group focuses but also to increase the opportunities for students to work with other year groups and role models, as well as to engender change for the whole student body.

It is also intended to raise the level of responsibility for Year 12 student representatives and to offer a range of experiences which help to prepare students for the wider world, such as project management, working with a diverse range of people, leading change, promoting oneself and collaboration.

How will the Year Group Teams (Years 7-12) work? These are similar to the current year teams. It was important to maintain the current opportunity for the different year groups to focus on year specific concerns, but also to make the experience more consistent across year groups.

They will run in a similar way to how they have previously, discussing year group issues and actions, working with the Head or Deputy Head of Achievement, or Head of Year, and collecting and sharing information year-wide as needed. 

Key changes 

  • There will be 15 representatives from each year group (7-12), not two per tutor group. This is designed to enable those students who really want to get involved to do so, regardless of who else in their tutor group also wants to. 
  • Students will be elected through an anonymous, democratic process (see below) to try to remove voting based on social status or friendship, and to encourage all students to feel comfortable about nominating themselves. 
  • The main school year group teams will be run by the Year 12 student representatives, in order to raise their level of responsibility and visibility, but also to share their valuable experience gained from going through years 7-11. 
  • The Year 12 year group team will meet on a fortnightly basis in a timetabled slot. The main school year group teams will meet at least twice each half term in tutor time.

How will the Cross School Teams (Years 7-12) work? 

In addition to the year group teams, new additional groups are being created to encourage cross-school connections and make real change. There will be three of these groups, each with a different focus: Academic & Learning, Health & Wellbeing, Community & Charity. Unlike the year group teams which are more focused on specific year-related issues, the purpose of these cross-school teams is to create, work on and deliver specific projects within the school. Projects will be decided on in discussion with the supporting member of staff for each group.

Each group will be run by the Year 12 student representatives (with staff support) and include representatives from each year group. Students, once elected to the year group team, will be able to nominate themselves for the cross-school group they would like to be involved with. One Year 12 representative from each cross-school team will be elected as the head of that group.   

These groups will meet each half term in one of the Year 12 year group team’s timetabled sessions to create and work on their project, allocating tasks to members, sharing progress and deciding on next steps. 

What about Year 13 opportunities? 

The Year 13 team will remain separate from the other year teams and the cross-school teams. This is to enable them to keep their focus on the priorities appropriate to their last year of school. Not just the hard work required to complete their studies at Highcliffe, but also the well-deserved and important events marking their transition to the wider world. Students will be able to get involved with leavers’ priorities (e.g. prom, year book) on a voluntary basis.

How will application and voting work? 

More details about the process of voting and application will follow in September 2022. As a brief summary though, students in years 7-12 will apply through an online form which will include a brief statement about why they would make a good student representative, and some guidance will be provided to support students with writing these statements, an “opportunity to learn how to argue and defend points of view” (Ibid).

On election day for each of the year groups in years 7-12, all students and tutors will be able to vote for candidates based on their statement alone; this will be anonymous for both the candidates and the voters. There will be fifteen representative positions for each year group, not restricted by tutor group. We will be using the single transferable voting system; this choice and the reasons for it will be fully explained to students in September, to help their “understanding of how citizens can influence decision-making through the democratic process" (Ibid).

Year 13 students who wish to volunteer for the Leavers’ team will apply straight to their Head of Year. 

We want students to apply who really want to make a difference; we want a range of voices to be represented through student leadership.     

If you have any questions about the student leadership opportunities at Highcliffe School, please contact Mrs Keyworth, Associate Assistant Headteacher.

    Owned by: RKH | Last Published: 03/01/2023 09:34:17 | Next Update: N/A