Pupil participation: What can schools do to make sure pupils have more say in decision making?

Pupil Rachel from Harlaw Academy talking about pupil participation Rachel from Harlaw Academy shared with us about pupil participation at her school and how they’re making sure pupils feel more supported and listened to.

“Over the past few years, my school has worked really hard to be an inclusive school…to make sure every single pupil has a voice and is included in the future of their school.”Here’s how….

2 ways my school has given pupils a voice

  1. “We came up with a structure to get the whole school involved. The Head Prefects, the House Captains and the Vice House Captains join together to make the school’s Senate. Every pupil can go to their form representative with ideas they have to improve our school. And every pupil is consulted on changes to their school.”
  2. “The school’s Senate was given £2000 this year to spend on what the pupils were asking for. So what difference has this made?
  • With the pupils having more participation it means they are more invested in our school and want to get more involved.
  • More pupils are joining clubs and extra-curriculars and we’ve got so much going on.
  • Pupils have asked for changes and these have or are happening. For example, we now have more seating throughout the school for break/lunch times, extra bins, toilet locks and new card machines.We are getting an S6 tie and a school sign to give our school an identity.”

And… 1 way my school is helping pupils feel more supported

  1. Harlaw Academy has a quiet area to give support for pupils based on whatever the pupil needs and to help them access the curriculum. Many of our pupils have had a diagnosis of Autism or conditions such as ADHD or OCD, but we also have pupils who are suffering from anxiety or just need a quiet place to go.

Here are a few pupils comments about the quiet area:

“It gives me time to think and it makes me feel calm. I prefer to work alone.”

“It helps me cope as I can see trustworthy faces. They are friendly and help me with my work.”

“Teachers are trying to help me stop misbehaving in classes because sometimes I don’t concentrate. I use the PC to finish work or I play the keyboard to relax.”


Why not share what your school has been doing on pupil participation to help pupils have a say and get involved in making decisions? Send your examples to advice@reach.scot