Pupil voice plays a pivotal role in life at Orchards Academy. At Orchards we believe in ensuring that pupils are given the opportunity to play an active role in shaping the future of the school.
The School Council work alongside staff and the leadership team to continue to improve the school. They meet twice a term, discussing and implementing ideas that could help improve the school.
In order to represent all students, the School Council members meet students in their form groups and gather their opinions about what is to be discussed at the next meeting.
2022-23 School Council Updates
Elections have taken place for Year Group Representatives for the 2022-23 academic year, as well as for the Chair and Vice Chair.
School Council have divided themselves into 5 different focus groups:
Students are meeting in their focus groups every Wednesday morning to discuss what the current issues are within their focus group, as well as any new ideas/ initiatives that they would like to set up to make a positive impact on the school.
Students have been involved in the selling of Poppies during the week leading up to Remembrance Day. The figure raised will be shared later in the year.
2021-22 School Council Updates
On 12th November, members of the School Council from Years 7, 8 and 9 met with Governors to discuss how they have found being a member of the School Council so far. They discussed the recent initiatives they have put into action, their current projects and lastly how they can continue to look to improve the student voice here at Orchards Academy. The governors commented on how smart and well presented all the students looked and how they spoke positively and confidently within this meeting.
40 members of the school council were involved in the Poppy Appeal selling poppies to staff and students from 8th to 11th November. A combination of tutor time walk rounds and break/lunch time stalls meant that by Thursday 11th November the school had completely run out of poppies! We thank all the members of the School Council that gave up their break and lunch times to collect these donations.
School Council members discussed the need for a canteen meal deal. Students are now able to receive a meal deal that includes a main meal, a selected snack and a selected drink for £2.34. The school council also discussed the need for more signs/posters of the menus and price lists. These have now been displayed in more areas within the canteen.
School Council members discussed their concerns over internet access to complete Google Classroom homework, this has resulted in an after school homework club being set up. Mr Dole runs the homework club on Thursday's, in the library, between 3-4pm. Access to laptops and other resources are available as well as teacher support.
The School Council worked with Miss Dudley and Ms Heaver to discuss the Mental Health and Wellbeing support in school. Overall, the student body felt that the school is very supportive in this area. All students could identify their support networks in school and expressed that they know who and how to get help if they feel they need it.
Students discussed the possible use of a room where they can access information based on mental heath and wellbeing and, as a result, an emotional wellbeing room has been created by the staff in the Harvey Centre for students to access whilst doing workshops. This room also now features a large amount of information leaflets, mindfulness toolkits, worksheets and general mental health and wellbeing tips and guidance. A school council wellbeing focus group has been formed and this group will continue to work with Mrs Heaver to develop this room further, along with other discussion points around mental health and wellbeing in school
Some students felt that they may have a question or would like support on something that isn’t urgent, but do not want to talk directly to a member of staff straight away, especially if they have never been into the Harvey before or spoke to particular members of staff. A thought box has been created and is located in reception. This is a ‘worry’ box for those that would like to ask questions or access support that may not feel comfortable directly speaking first to a teacher. This is not to be used under any circumstance for any urgent issues or safeguarding concerns. A name and form group must be on the slip. This box is checked daily.
Mrs Willbourn met with the School Council to discuss the new build and the School Council were tasked to come up with some focus areas of discussion to put forward to be considered for the new build. Mrs Willbourn met with the school council again at the end of Term 4 and discussed all focus points in detail. The students have now turned their attention to picking classroom wall colours!!!
The students discussed the idea of having focus groups to be able to commit time to a specific focus area of the school during their time in the School Council. This will be along with any other general School Council business. The focus groups that have been formed by student choice are as follows:
Mental Health and Wellbeing