Pupil councils

Script to introduce the film

Pupil councils or school councils are a way of children and young people having a greater say over matters that affect their school and wider lives.

The pupil council gives students the chance to tell teachers and staff their ideas and represents each class in school. It allows pupils to be involved in decisions that affect them, keeping them informed about the life of the school and helps pupils to gain confidence to have their say. It can also help pupils to feel good about their place in the school community by giving them responsibilities and encourages active citizenship.

Research shows that pupil councils differ in how they are set up and run but that they can be a vital link in the chain of decision making within a school, giving students a real voice in improving

In this film, Commonwealth Class meets pupils from Newbattle Community High School in Dalkeith Scotland and their partner school Khanya Lesedi in South Africa to find out more about their respective pupil representative councils and the issues that they address.

Commonwealth Class: Pupil councils

Show the film and use the discussion prompts afterwards. Email commonwealthclass@bbc.co.uk if you would like to download a copy of this film.

Does your school have a pupil council or student representative council and if so, how does it work?

How do pupils join the council - are they elected?

What happens at the meetings? What role to members play?

What happens after the meetings?

Pupils from both schools in the film talk about the different issues they address such as the changing rooms or school dinners, what sorts of issues does your school council get involved in?

How successful has the council been? Have they been able to make significant changes?

Do you think it's important for students to have a say in the running of their school and if so why?

Many schools have councils, but they are not all successful - what things can help make a council effective? E.g. regular meetings, taking notes?

Join the assembly debate

Join us from 1100-1300 GMT on Thursday 27 February and share your opinions with other schools around the world in our 'Pupil councils' debate.

For full details on how to get involved, click the 'Join the debate' tab at the top of the page.

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