According to Estyn it would appear that School Councils have had "little impact on the running of Welsh Secondary Schools". Is that really so much of a surprise? Despite there being an obligation (since 2005) for pupil led councils to play an active role in schools, it seems that in pupil input has been limited to "minor improvements in the arrangements for uniforms, toilet facilities and meal choices"
For some reason the Welsh Assembly Government places importance on giving pupils a stronger voice in the running of their schools.
Despite the rhetoric I'm afraid I don't understand why.
But here's a quote from the report press release that may well be of interest those of us "On the Hill".
"Less than a third of teachers have used the Welsh Assembly Government website which aims to support the development of School Councils. The forum sections of the website have not been used by teachers, governors or pupils since it was created a year ago. However, most teachers surveyed feel that the website is easy to use and find the case studies the most useful aspect. Estyn recommends that the Welsh Assembly Government makes sure that the website, and other guidance, meets the needs of school councils that are already well-established."Digging further in to the report proper, we find that
"Teachers responsible for the school council in about half of the schools surveyed are aware of the website, but less than a third have used it."Its difficult to decide why this might be the case.
In fact there are a whole range of questions one could ask eg.
- Is the web site no use?
- Is the available material poor?
- Do the teachers concerned not have internet access?
- Do the teacher's concerned not have the time to use the web site?
- Are the teachers concerned interested?
- Do those involved in the running of schools actually think School Councils have a purpose?
- Are there any real statistics available about the way that this web site is used?
"No teachers, governors or pupils have used the forum on the website."Another sentence that raises even more questions?
- Do teachers, governors and pupils actually use on line forums?
- Do they have anything to talk about?
- Is there a need for this forum?
- Are there any similar forums not being used?
- How connected are our teachers, pupils and school governors?