At Outwood Academy Bishopsgarth we believe that all students are entitled have an active role in shaping the educational experiences which they and their fellow students receive. Any student in any classroom, in any year, has a voice that should be heard in the Academy.
Student Voice allows students to; share who they are, what they believe and their vision for their academy with their peers, parents and teachers. At Outwood Grange Bishopsgarth, we care about what the students think and take time to listen to their views through the use of Student Voice.
The main aims of student voice are:
• to engage in constructive dialogue with teachers.
• to give students the skills and qualities necessary to develop both during their time in the Academy and in future life.
• to develop their leadership skills by encouraging innovation
• to support the needs of other students in the Academy
• to embed approaches to teaching and learning that encourage learners to take greater responsibility for their own progress and achievement.
Through Student Voice roles, young people will have the opportunity to take a part in the ongoing improvements in the Academy environment including; the learning and wellbeing of students and the management of behaviour, including the use of praise and rewards.
In the autumn term of each year, we hold the Student Voice Presidential Election. Any student, in any year, can apply to become Student President, via application form. Up to six are selected for interview, and following this the strongest candidates are invited to campaign. Each candidate is required to create a campaign team, and receives a budget. In the week of the Presidential Elections, candidates deliver campaign speeches and assemblies to our entire student body. There then follows a ‘Campaign Day’ where candidates and their teams promote their issues, and gather support on the school gates, and during breaks and lunchtimes. Polling Day swiftly follows, with students casting votes in our recreated Polling Station. Finally, the results are announced by the Returning Officer, in an Inauguration Ceremony.
Our process is designed to mirror British Elections, in that each student receives a polling card, and brings it in to vote, using the Stockton Borough Council official polling booths, and ballot boxes. We are determined that all our students will know how to vote in the local and national elections, and that they understand the importance of using their vote, and attempting to find candidates who most closely match their views. We want students to appreciate the importance of our world renowned British democratic process, and who this is intrinsic to our British values.
In autumn students also apply to become members of our Student Voice Satellite Groups. This academic year 2018-2019, there are several groups to choose from including; Prom Committee, Publicity Committee (including student newsletter) and a hospitality group, amongst others, all of which are semi-autonomous, but also supported by staff members.