Pupil voice

Placing value on pupil voice can support thriving by improving academic outcomes, as well improving levels of emotional wellbeing, belonging and self-esteem.

Weare (2015) describes student voice as being “about genuine consultation and the authentic involvement of all students in decision making about their own learning and classroom and school life”. Student voice work can improve a sense of belonging and connectedness and in doing so improve wellbeing and behaviour (Cocking et al., 2020).

It’s important that we ensure that every voice is heard, not just the louder ones. There is no-one who can better tell us the needs of our students than the students themselves.

Thriving

A school that is thriving in this area will: 

  • actively seek the views of pupils and act on these views in an ongoing, iterative, and meaningful ways. (E.g. in a “you said, we did” model).
  • consult with pupils during the development of specific policies by asking them to consider the impact of policies on their social, emotional, mental, and physical health.
  • ask pupils to identify issues that are important to them when it comes to mental health and emotional wellbeing and use this to plan the content of the RSHE curriculum.
  • use varied ways to seek pupil feedback (e.g. paper-based surveys, focus groups, online questionnaires, voting systems, music, multimedia, art, etc).
  • have a pupil voice mechanism (such as school council) which directly feeds back to SLT.
  • have dedicated staff with responsibility for pupil voice and feedback.
  • ensure that all pupils have opportunities to have their voices heard, and find ways to engage identified “seldom heard voices”.
  • consider peer-led ambassador programmes such as Mental Health Ambassadors, Autism Ambassadors, and Race and Equality Champions.
  • have a dedicated area of the school website for pupils to find information on mental health and emotional wellbeing, involve pupils in the development and maintenance of the area.

Pupil voice