‘Our greatest natural resource is the minds of our children.’
Walter Elias Disney
Over the last few weeks, our parliament groups have been exploring the idea of improving our attendance. Leaders have encouraged their pupils to consider the benefits of being in school and children have come up with ways to help others be here on time. We now have many posters up around school to promote attendance and three groups have made fantastic videos which illustrate the downfalls of missing out on key learning and exciting opportunities when school is missed.
As part of a whole school focus on oracy, our parliament leaders have began training to develop oracy skills in our younger children across the school. Inspired by London’s School 21, they have practised various different groupings for discussion and have started introducing this in their parliament sessions.
Alice and Ted have been working hard with their group to foster good communication skills. Today they demonstrated their commitment by co-ordinating their clothing in order to encourage the group’s discussion focus for the day: Should children be allowed to express themselves in terms of their appearance at school?
Here is our video on Oracy through Parliament, please take a look
Parliament @ West Wick
This week, LSAs from West Wick came to observe parliament @ Hewish. We aim to introduce parliament at our West Wick site at some point in the future and staff were able to see firsthand how this works so they are able to support children in the initial stages.
Since the last ‘Newsflash’, Parliament leaders have worked with their groups to find out about things children would like to improve in our school. One of these priorities was the toilets. Mrs Dadds has already responded to these requests and colours are currently being chosen, ready for the re-paint!
What is parliament and how does it work?
At St. Anne’s we have a strong belief in the British value of democracy. More than a year ago we successfully introduced a children’s parliament, run by ALL members of the Year Six Crew. Children from all year groups @ Hewish meet every Wednesday morning for twenty minutes in mixed age groups to discuss and take part in whole school activities. These activities are planned and led by our amazing parliament leaders and can range from asking children their views about learning to devising songs about anti-bullying!
Each week, parliament leaders choose a member of their group to receive a sticker in our Friday worship, explaining clearly why they have been chosen. Reasons vary from making good behaviour choices, trying hard to join in, speaking out for the first time and supporting others in the group effectively. This person becomes a ‘what a good one looks like’ for other members of the group.
So far this academic year, our younger children have shared some of the following within their parliament groups: storytelling designed to draw out morals, drama centered around saying no to bullying, healthy lunchboxes verses school dinners and much more!
Despite being in its infancy, our parliament has been praised by various visitors to our school. Chanel Wilkins was mentioned in particular after our Learning Without Limits review team noticed her excellent interpersonal skills when coaxing younger children into participating in the group.
We invest time in our parliament leaders and coach them in their journey. Recent coaching sessions have included the co-creation of a set of rules as well as exploring the different qualities displayed by bosses and leaders.