Students have their say: our student survey gets a reaction!

10 October 2016

Students’ opinions shape school improvements

Last summer term we conducted our school wide student opinion survey – we call it Student Voice. Every student participates and we ask them what they think about all aspects of school life. It’s a challenging and important process for us – we know it’s not a perfect world and we don’t have an unlimited budget – but we do want to get school as right as we can for as many individuals as we can.

These were the key messages from our students:

  • Make learning more exciting
  • Improve how we set homework tasks and how we use Dedicated Improvement Time
  • Improve behaviour at lunch time and break time
  • Give all students a voice

A group of staff met twice to examine what students had said in the survey. They then came up with some proposals which would help us tackle student concerns. Our Student Voice Prefects then discussed these proposals with a number of tutor groups and met with Mr Mather, Assistant Headteacher, to feedback student reaction.

This week in assemblies Mr Mather has been explaining what is happening to tackle the survey issues


Make learning more exciting

A group of teachers are visiting lots of different classrooms in November precisely to discuss this with students. They want suggestions they can take back to rest of the staff. The Student Council has a brief this term to collate ideas from students and to pass these on to the teachers.  Prefects and the Changemakers (from a specific boys’ perspective) are also involved in this process.  Some teachers are researching more varied ways to learn and their ideas are regularly discussed at department and staff meetings – we are constantly on the look out for ways to make our individual subjects interesting and we try to learn from each other.

Improve homework tasks and use of Dedicated Improvement Time

Personal Study periods on timetables this year allow students to begin homework tasks in school and use the space and time to get on the right track.  Staff have been asked to specify what kind of homework they are setting – whether it is to show improvement, to consolidate learning, to carry out research or to evaluate something.  They will say how it will be checked or assessed and the minimum/maximum times expected for completion. They will allow time for questions in class and if at all possible, create time for students to make a start so they know they are sure what to do.

Improve behaviour at lunch time and break time

The duty rota for staff before school, break times, lunchtimes and after school has been reorganised to improve staff presence.  There are now Sports Activities in the TISA/Sports Hall run by Sports Leaders and our newly appointed Sports Captains will organise Sports House competitions in football, basketball and netball.  Resources for outdoor games in the playgrounds and large floor games in TIA are planned– this will be a fund-raising challenge supported by the Parents’ Forum.  We are designating a space for lunchtime board games and chess.  Finally, Film Club in Kernewek Hall will run once a term.  The club will be run by Prefects and their first Film Club Week will be in early December.

 Give all students a voice

These assemblies and the action and changes taking place show students their opinion matters. The Student Voice Prefects and the School Council will be quick to tell us if we haven’t got this right!  We will soon have House Captains – student leaders who will definitely be able to organise activities to improve school life for students.  Our Press Prefects have already taken the opportunity to communicate with parents via the weekly newsletter and are planning a student-produced newsletter of their own after half term.  It will be another way in which the student voice will be heard and they will be inviting submissions for publication from all students.