School Councils Central To Student Experience Says Committee

Session: 2012/2013

Date: 12 September 2012

Reference: EDUC 01/12/13

The Northern Ireland Assembly Education Committee has today published its report on its inquiry into School Councils which allow pupils to participate in the way their schools deal with important issues.

The inquiry sought the views of young people, educators and other relevant stakeholders on their experiences of working with or within School Councils. The Committee was keen to discover how successful School Councils are in delivering positive educational and social outcomes to pupils, as well as identifying new ways to help strengthen, develop and support participation.

Education Committee Chairperson Mervyn Storey MLA said: “The Committee has long been aware of the important contribution School Councils can make to the overall student experience. For many young people it is their first introduction to democratic participation and a valuable opportunity for them to influence and become involved in decisions that affect their daily lives.

“We had an enthusiastic response to the inquiry and the Committee was very encouraged to hear the positive experiences of children and young people involved in School Councils. We were also pleased to learn that there is substantial free support and guidance available to new and existing School Councils. It is extremely important that the Department for Education promotes all available resources and the sharing of good practice examples from existing School Councils.

Mr Storey continued: “Young people need to know that their contribution to School Councils is both necessary and effective. For that reason, training and support must be readily available and School Councils must be provided with opportunities to meet with and report to School Governors. Not only will this help to encourage and develop key life skills but it will allow young people to contribute to their school and community.  

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