The purpose of the School Parliament is to give the pupils a real voice within a manageable system and encourage the students to take ownership and responsibility for their school. At the same time it enables staff to gain pupils’ perspective.
School Parliament members represent all pupils in each year group at Saint Paul’s Catholic High School. They are elected by the pupils to represent their ideas and views.
The School Parliament consists of two representatives from each form. Pupils then vote as to which of these people should be elected to become part of the Cabinet. Those not elected to the Cabinet become “backbenchers”. This ensures that the school has a large representation of pupil voice and that each form has representatives.
The whole School Parliament meets termly and the Cabinet meets monthly to discuss events and activities within school.
Ms Michelle Davies, School Parliament Link teacher, explained: “The candidates conduct election campaigns. We create a polling station in school and all pupils are issued with polling cards so get a say in the selection of the Members of the School Parliament and the Cabinet. This way of working encourages the pupils to develop a sense of responsibility as well as an understanding of the democratic process.”
“The members of our School Parliament meet on a regular basis. The Parliament is regularly invited to contribute to decision-making in relation to many aspects of school life and to represent the school on special occasions. In addition they demonstrate their social responsibilities by raising funds for charity,” added Ms Davies.
“The position of Member of School Parliament (MSP) is one of responsibility and one which provides an important connection between pupils and staff. Becoming a MSP is a valuable goal, it plays an important part in a pupil’s personal development and opens their mind to new levels of responsibility and participation in a very positive way.” commented Mr Alex Hren, Headteacher.