Why this is leading practice
Our consultation and participation work with young people through the development of the Youth Panel has been recognised as outstanding practice by several organisations for its innovative, reflective approach. We have formed a sustainable model for proactive student participation with a focus on all aspects of creativity at Waverley. Through their involvement students are equipped with the leadership and evaluative skills necessary to enable them to set their own agenda for promoting creativity through their projects. The success of the Youth Panel has led to the development of further councils across the school which follow the same model.
Impact to date
Waverley is clearly a school moving forwards as identified by its ‘outstanding’ Ofsted report. In September 2011 it will take in its’ first Sixth Form intake, making the school even larger, prior to moving to a new site in 2013. They were also the first school in the city to receive the Information Advice and Guidance Award recognising the support, care and guidance to the students. They also received the Continuing Professional Development Mark for staff development and the Gold Diversity Award for their work in school and the community. This month they were also recognised as being the highest nationally achieving school in the country. The pupil voice through the Youth Panel in particular plays a big part in moving the school forward with negotiated and agreed plans.
Rationale / Start Point
Three years ago we highlighted a need to develop students’ creative voice and teachers’ confidence to deliver creative teaching and learning. We formed the Youth Panel to raise awareness of creativity and lead teachers in developing creative skills. They recruited artists to support an exploration of their aspirations and organised a Diversity Festival focusing on creative teaching and learning. The Youth Panel have proceeded to deliver creative projects to feeder primaries, lead staff training sessions and deliver external presentations. They upkeep an outdoor learning space or ‘Global Garden’ used by all faculties and are currently consulting on the design of our new school.
Panel members meet weekly to discuss issues and then pass on information to their forms the following day. All staff receive information via internal e-mail. Panel members have performed training sessions with staff to help make lessons more creative. The panel also have ownership of a notice board that they keep up to date. They have also designed and looked after a school garden, used by other faculties too, and have contributed produce they have grown to the school kitchens. The pupils are always asked for their opinions on all new decisions.
Sustainability and Further Development
Each year the older members of the Youth Panel in Key Stage 4 stand down and encourage the new Year 7 and 8 pupils to take over and continue the good work. This has been a successful process and allows for continuity.
It was agreed that the next step forward might be to undertake more work in the local community, using their creative skills to produce a graffiti wall with a local artist, decorate bus shelters, and help the neighbourhood become a smarter place through litter picks and flower planting. Funding for the scheme needs to continue.
The school are also working on producing resource materials for other schools to share on ‘Look to the Past, See the Future’, a Humanities project, and pupils also plan and run Diversity Days.