The Role of Learner Participation in an Effective School
Having an effective way that learners can openly express their opinions on matters that affect them can be a rewarding experience for learners and teaching staff, creating strong lines of communication and positive links among the school community.
Effective learner participation in schools can lead to:
- Improved learner engagement, well-being, behaviour and learning
- Better learner and staff relationships
- Better whole school policies and procedures, based on the real needs of the learners
- More inclusive communities, where all learners are encouraged and supported and not just those who are most confident and articulate
- Increased opportunities for pupils to develop personal and social skills
Learner participation can bring certain issues to the attention of the school which otherwise might have gone unnoticed or simply not considered. It can bring a greater sense of ownership of the school being cultivated amongst the learners and with a sense of ownership comes a sense of responsibility and care.
Learner participation relates to young people being asked their opinion on issues of importance to them, or issues which affect them within their education. The concept of pupil participation originates mainly from Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the rights of the Child (UNCRC). Article 12 lays down the right of all children and young people to have a say what they think should happen and to have their opinions taken into account when adults are making decisions that affect them.
When you think how many decisions are made in a school, about matters that directly affect learners, the potential for learner participation is vast, however this is ultimately decided by SMT and the governing body and their duty to upholding the principles of UNCRC.