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Power to the pupils

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By Marc McLean, local democracy reporter
Front
Power to the pupils

PUPILS in Dumfries and Galloway schools could potentially have a say on the appointment of their next head teacher.

Teens who make up pupil councils may even have influence over their school uniforms, meals, and anti-bullying policies.

Everything is up for discussion as Dumfries and Galloway Council moves towards finalising its Pupil Council Charter.

An official charter is currently being created, which could bring more power to the pupils from next year.

A new council education report states: “The work on this scheme of establishment for a Pupil Council Charter is to ensure that we have consistency in our approaches to working with children and young people through our pupil council structure based on local and national frameworks for children’s and young people’s engagement.

“The purpose of a Pupil Council Charter is to define what should be considered when establishing their pupil council. The charter should be written by the Pupil Council in partnership with the school.”

A joint meeting of Dumfries and Galloway Youth Council and the full council back in February 2020 agreed that every school should have a pupil council – and that these should be treated with the same importance as parent councils.

The charter will be developed over the next ten months before a final version is put before councillors for consideration in September next year.

Its aim will be to help pupil councils make representations to the school and local authority on matters that affect them in their learning and education.

A progress update will be discussed at the council’s education committee next Wednesday and a report, due to be tabled then, reads: “The influence of Pupil Councils could be evidenced in the following ways but not limited to: pupil council voice will be included in the education authority annual plan…in the reporting to education and learning committee.”

It continues: “Pupil voices must be represented in school policies and guidelines including but not limited to: cost of the school day – school uniform, school meals, etc, school improvement planning, school anti-bullying policy, time for inclusive education strategies, UNCRC and rights respecting schools strategies…involvement in the appointment process of the headteacher or depute headteacher.”

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