The School Council at Belfast Royal Academy comprises of a group of peer-elected students, who represent the views of all pupils within school and who attempt to improve all aspects of school life. Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) says that children and young people should have a say in decisions that affect their lives.
In Belfast Royal Academy our School Council provides a meaningful way in which pupils can voice their opinions and have their views taken into account in decisions which impact directly upon them. It is also an important and useful way for the School to provide leadership and development opportunities for pupils.
Within the school curriculum, one of the key areas making up the ‘Learning for Life and Work/LLW’ theme is active participation. The curriculum requires that young people are provided with opportunities to participate in school and society. School councils are an excellent way in which to increase participation, teaching young people about democracy, local and global citizenship and accountability.
In Belfast Royal Academy a Pupil Councillor is nominated from every Tutor Group. They then attend two Pupil Council meeting per term. At the first Pupil Council meeting in September every Form nominates a boy and girl to act as their School Councillor. There is one School Council meeting per term.
The Pupil Council meetings are quite informal occasions in which a number of ideas and issues are presented to the Senior Teacher for Pastoral Care and LLW coordinator. The ideas/issues that have most support are brought to the School Council for more consideration. These issues are then brought to Senior Leadership Team for discussion, and remedies (where applicable) are implemented. The Head Boy and Head Girl report back to the whole school during two special Assemblies throughout the year.
The Pupil and School Council also organise a non-uniform day every year and monies raised go to their nominated charities.