Students are the heart of our school – and their views and thoughts are important. That is why Student Voice matters – and why it is a central to the ethos of Little Heath School.
Student Voice is concerned with respect and partnership between students and teachers. We want to engage with young people, helping them to unlock their talents and potential. It is important to give them a stake in their school, in their learning and in their futures. Student Voice is about empowering students to contribute, harnessing their good ideas and allowing them to play a positive part in the life and work of the school.
Student Voice is also a powerful vehicle through which important learning skills (e.g. communication & listening) can be developed and practised . Student Voice also develops confidence and self esteem. Many of our former students, who have been involved with Student Voice during their time at Little Heath, have found that it has really helped them on a personal level, and in their future pathways.
This year, as ever, our Student Voice programme is broad and varied, with projects including SMILE mentoring, Students As Learning Partners research work, as well as our strong School Council and annual Charity fundraising. Our Student Ambassadors welcome visitors to the school, and are present at Parents Evenings, Open Evenings and other key school events.
Students from all year groups are involved in the Student Voice programme and, through their effective participation, they make a positive difference to our school. We are very grateful to them for all that they do and the positive and enthusiastic way in which they take part.
Student Voice is ever growing – it matters because young people are important and their voice matters.
Student Voice Activities
School Council operates as the main representative body, and voice, for the students at Little Heath School. The School Council meets regularly with the Head teacher and Deputy Head teachers to discuss teaching and learning, and other matters of importance to the students and to the school.
Each Tutor group elects two house representatives to sit on their house council. Each house council then elects a School Council representative to represent each year group. The School Council is consequently made up of 20 students and 6th Form. They feed thoughts and ideas from House Councils into the School Council. Elections for Form Representatives are held in each tutor group every September, so get involved!
SMILE was founded in 2005. It is a Peer Mentor scheme in which our older students work closely with Year 7 students in their transition to Little Heath School.
Evaluations year after year have consistently spoken of the benefits that students feel they have gained from being a part of SMILE.
Comments from the current Year 10 and Year 11 about SMILE include:
- “we get a sense of achievement from helping someone”
- “the joy of knowing I have made a difference”
- “it’s built my confidence”
- “it’s nice to have a real responsibility in school"
Our older students learn important skills, such as the need to listen and communicate effectively which they inevitably benefit from.
Year 7 evaluations have also always been very positive about SMILE.
Year 7 students who had individual SMILE mentors, state that:
- “it is really nice to know someone older who knows the school and who can help me”
- “it built my confidence to talk to someone who really listens”
- “I liked talking about my week with my mentor”
- “I get to express my feelings”
- “it’s nice to talk and not be judged..I can say how I feel”
Our SMILE mentors go through a nationally recognised programme of training and aim to offer a friendly ear and support and advise the students with whom they work each week.
The great joy of SMILE is in seeing both the Year 7s and the Year 10s gain from being a part of the programme and we hope that, for many years to come, SMILE can continue to make a positive difference to all those who are involved with it.
Students can email SMILE at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Each year at Little Heath School we hold a Student Voice Conference where our students work alongside staff to discuss various aspects of Teaching & Learning.
During this key event in the school calendar workshops, discussion forums, question and answer sessions with staff and Governors and examination of current school policies all take place in an environment of enthusiasm and excitement as students from Years 7 - 13 become fully involved in the decisions making process of the future of the school. The ideas and suggestions are extremely valuable for ensuring that Little Heath students have a real say in the running of their school.