Tag Archives: pupils have a say

3 reasons why pupil participation at school matters⤴

from @ Reach


Image reproduced with the permission of the Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland.

There are lots of ways that pupils can get involved in decision making at school. Pupil councils, school votes, giving feedback to teachers, having a say in how the school is run and what you learn. But why does pupil participation matter?

Here are 3 reasons why pupils should have a voice at school:

1.It’s your right!

As a young person, you have the right to have a say in decisions that affect you. That is just one of a long list of rights set out in an international law that almost every country in the world is signed up to. It’s got a long name: the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (the UNCRC for short). Basically, it’s a list of  promises to young people to listen to you, keep you safe, look after you and treat you fairly.

2. Participate + listened to + included = ‘Do well’.

The team at the Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland  came up with this nifty way of putting it after talking to over 130 pupils from 7 schools around Scotland: Being listened to, actively included in school life and decision making and feeling respected is key to helping young people do well at school”.

When pupils get the chance to share their views then the Commissioner’s research shows that this helps you do well at school, because you feel more respected and included. “It makes you more confident ’cause you speak out” as one pupil put it. Another pupil said that at their school “there’s a really high level of mutual respect, that pupils listen to the teachers, but the teachers listen – and value- the pupils’ points of view and things to say, so it makes you more confident and you’re open with your ideas.” Getting on with your teacher seemed  really important to pupils feeling able to speak out: “The good relationship with the teacher makes you feel comfortable asking for extra help. Because sometimes it can seem a wee bit daunting especially when you’re in a classroom”.

3. No one else can think about what makes school work well in the way you can.

No one else has the ideas that you have or can think the way that you think. Your words and your thoughts are unique, just like you. It’s only by listening to all their pupils that schools can work out what is best for each and every one of you. As one young person who took part in the research put it: “pupil involvement that the school gives us and responsibility….not just at the pupil council…it’s every single pupil”.

You are never too young to use your voice to speak up about stuff that you care about. And you can use your voice to make a difference to other people at school too.  “We’re more aware of the problems in the school than the teachers. They can’t see it from a pupil point of view. The same as we can’t see it from a teacher point of view”. 


So that’s it! Three good reasons you can’t argue with….

What are your experiences (good or bad) of having a say at school? We’d love to hear from you. 

Here’s the link to the full report and a BSL version of the Children and Young People’s Commissioner report How Young People’s Participation in School Supports Achievement and Attainment.



The post 3 reasons why pupil participation at school matters appeared first on Reach.

Getting it right for all pupils⤴

from @ Reach

Here’s something that can make a big difference to pupils’ lives. Ever heard of GIRFEC? It’s short for Getting it Right for Every Child. GIRFEC helps the adults who support you to work together to make sure you are ok and that you get the support you need. Check out this GIRFEC wheel picture. Teachers and other people who support you might use this wheel when talking to you about what is going well in your life and where you need more help.

What does GIRFEC mean for you?

GIRFEC should make sure that:

  • You understand what is happening and why.
  • You have been listened to and your wishes have been heard, understood and taken into account.
  • You feel confident about the help you are getting.
  • You are involved in discussions and decisions that affect you.
  • You know you will get support that is right for you as soon as possible.
  • People that are supporting you work together to make sure you get the support you need

Check out Ryan’s story to get an idea of what GIRFEC looks like in real life.

GIRFEC isn’t that easy to get your head around. One council has made an app to help make sense of it, worth checking out. 

Here’s how some of the older pupils at Gourock Primary  have helped people understand what GIRFEC is about by setting up a social enterprise. If your secondary school have done any projects like this, would be great to hear from you.

“The Games Café began with an idea from our P6 pupils in the school. They wanted to make sure that the rest of the pupils in the school knew the 8 wellbeing indicators. They thought of a game board with the wellbeing wheel in the centre and some stops around the outside where the player would think about the indicators. The Girfec Gameboard with question cards was completed and printed a year later.

We entered a local Dragons’ Den style competition where we pitched an idea to spread the word of our Girfec Gameboard through a Games Café for the school and community. This was a Social Enterprise bid and all funds would go to our Partner school in Malawi.

The Games Café has been running since August 2016 and already we have had parents, pupils and members of the community coming along to the Games Café for a coffee or tea, home baking and a chance to play the game.”

A big thank you to the Girfec Group at Gourock for writing this – Jess, Adam ,Duncan, Ellie & Maya.

The post Getting it right for all pupils appeared first on Reach.

Over 100 pupils with learning disabilities have a say about being included at school⤴

from @ Reach

Pupils with learning disabilities in Scotland have had their say about what school is like for them and whether they feel included. 116 young people with learning disabilities shared their experiences of school as a part of a campaign called Included in the Main?! run by Enable Scotland.

Here are some of the things they found out from the pupils that took part in the survey:

  • 60% of the pupils said they feel lonely at school
  • only half of those asked feel like they are achieving their full potential at school
  • 23% don’t get to go on school trips
  • more than half said they felt like they weren’t getting the right support at school.

Enable Scotland also asked teachers and families what they thought and, after looking at all the results, have come up with 22 steps they think will make things better at school for young people with learning disabilities. These steps include stuff like:

  • making sure teachers get the right training so they can get better at supporting pupils with disabilities and their families,
  • making sure schools teach all pupils about learning difficulties
  • helping schools get even better at identifying support needs early.

You can check out some of the stories young people have shared with Enable Scotland here.  enable-case-studies

If you feel lonely at school or don’t feel like you get the right support we’ve lots of advice to help you here or you can call our helpline on 0345 123 2303.

The post Over 100 pupils with learning disabilities have a say about being included at school appeared first on Reach.

Young voters in EU Referendum – improve politics education in schools so we can make more informed choices⤴

from @ Enquire - young people's blog

With thousands of young voters in Scotland able to take part in today’s EU Referendum, making sure young people have the political education they need to make informed choices has never been so important. In this blog, MSYP Amy Perry, who sits on the Scottish Youth Parliament’s Education and Lifelong Learning Committee, argues that PSHE lessons – Personal, Social and Health Education – is a perfect opportunity to engage pupils in politics.  SYP_LogoContinue reading

Charity of the Year Saheliya: girls’ top 5 school issues for minority ethnic pupils⤴

from @ Enquire - young people's blog

saheliyaHUGE congratulations to Saheliya for scooping the Charity of the Year award at the Scottish Charity Awards. Saheliya does some amazing work to support the mental wellbeing of black and minority ethnic girls in Edinburgh and Glasgow. Charity awards Just a few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of hanging out with some of the Saheliya girls to find Continue reading

School of thought – 5 ways the new government could make schools better for young people in Scotland⤴

from @ Enquire - young people's blog

The Scottish Elections are coming up next week, and if you’re 16 years old or over then you have the right to vote. This is such an exciting chance for you to use your voice and have a say in how Scotland should be run! There are lots of youth orgs with manifestos that set out goals for the new government that will make life better for young people in Scotland. A lot of the manifestos call for politicians to do more to make sure that all young people in Scotland get Continue reading

Young champions for pupils with autism have their say on the blog, plus how you too can share your views⤴

from @ Enquire - young people's blog

AP riverside gang group picSpecial guests on the blog this week, pupils from Riverside Primary in Stirling who act as mentors and champions for people with autism at their school.  Autism is a condition that can affect how a person talks and listens to other people, how they learn and how they make friends. You can watch this ace Fixers film to find out more.  “We are the AP Gang from Riverside Primary School Continue reading

Young speakers ‘steal the show’ at the Enquire conference 2016⤴

from @ Enquire - young people's blog

Hats off to the amazing young people who took part in the Enquire conference in Stirling yesterday. They really stole the show! First up, Zoe and Caitlin, whose volunteering efforts for See Me and Aye Mind have even attracted the attention of the royals Kate and Wills, spoke about how digital media impacts on young people’s mental health. While they felt that social media had its downsides like online trolls, cyber bullying, pro-anorexia blogs and negative posts being Continue reading

Pupils speak out: how anxiety affects you at school⤴

from @ Enquire - young people's blog

Louise Comfort Zone blog Feb 16Louise is a young person from Falkirk on a campaign to help teachers get better at supporting pupils with anxiety. After her own struggle with anxiety, Louise ended up dropping out of school. She wants to make sure other young people don’t end up taking that route. “It was a very confusing feeling. I didn’t really know what was going on,” explains Louise.  “In school I often felt trapped, which caused Continue reading