How can I involve pupils in the way that the school develops?

There are few schools that would not place pupils at the heart of all they do. Pupils are the reason schools exist, the stakeholders for whom successful education will have the most impact on future life chances.

Strangely, they are also the one group most likely to have little involvement in school development planning.

Working Together For Change (WTFC) is a process that uses person-centred information in order to inform strategic change. It is about co-producing change by obtaining information from key groups of people and then using these different perspectives to plan for development. It is an ideal way to truly involve pupils in school development, as it provides a structured approach to capturing information in a way that pupils will understand and be able to contribute to alongside other stakeholders (e.g. staff, governors, parents).

Information is gathered around three key questions:

  • What is working?
  • What is not working?
  • What is important for the future?

The only people who can really answer these questions from the pupils’ perspective are the pupils themselves.

Having gathered this information from differing perspectives, common themes are identified in each section, leading to consideration of what needs to be built on and extended (from what’s working), what needs to change now (from what’s not working) and what change/development needs to happen in the future (from what’s important for the future). It is the decision-making that arises from this that informs the School Development Plan (SDP).

Because this a simple, structured approach, it is easy for pupils to be involved alongside the other stakeholders, making it a transparent process that will have integrity for pupils. It does not merely pay lip-service to pupil involvement, but truly respects and values the pupil perspective as being a central part of school development. You may be interested in Manor Farm and Norris Bank, two schools that have written blogs about their WTFC process.

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