The National Improvement Framework (NIF) recognises that leadership is one of the most important aspects of the success of any school. Further commenting that Head teachers and Teachers who are empowered and empower others to take ownership of their own learning, have a strong track record of ensuring the highest quality of learning and teaching (Scottish Government, ‘National Improvement Framework for Scottish Education - achieving excellence and equality’, January 2016)
This is a model of practice developed in one Scottish secondary school in East Lothian Council, (Ross High School) where the teachers and pupils established a Junior Leadership Team with the aim of creating a forum for pupils to support driving school improvement. This model provides an example of practice and talks through the process undertaken by the school.
Since 2015, Pupil ‘Leadership of Learning’ has played a significant part of the School Improvement Plan (SIP).
The vision for the Junior Leadership Team (JLT) at Ross High School was to develop skills for future life and work whilst creating an ethos and environment that provides pupils with the opportunity to lead their learning.
Moving in line with ‘How Good is Your School? 4 (HGIOS?4) which states that all students should play an active role in their school and wider community and regularly take on leadership roles, including leading their learning (Education Scotland, ‘How Good Is Your School? 4, pg 22-23, 2015). It was felt that more could be done to develop a 'pupil voice' which directly contributed to and focused on improving teaching and learning.
The National Improvement Framework (NIF) recognises that leadership is one of the most important aspects of the success of any school. Further commenting that Headteachers and Teachers who are empowered and empower others to take ownership of their own learning, have a strong track record of ensuring that the highest quality of learning and teaching (Scottish Government, ‘National Improvement Framework for Scottish Education - achieving excellence and equality’, January 2016)
- Appendix One – School Improvement Plan
- Appendix Two – SEE Survey results 2016 and 2017
- Appendix Three – JLT Newsletter
The JLT was established in May 2016 and was launched through a two tier application process.
First Tier – S1,S2 and S3 year group assemblies. Pupils were encouraged to write a parargraph explaining (i) why they wanted to be a part of the JLT, (ii) examples of times they have led before and (iii) what skills and qualities they could bring to the group.
Aim was to make the group as inclusive as possible – not just the most academic pupils for example.
Second Tier – Interview process. Pupils who's application had been of a good standard were invited to interview for a position in the group. They were interviewed by Principal Teacher Citizenship (Nicola Duncan), Principal Teacher Classroom Practice (Joe Moore) and Depute Head (Ann Archer) along with Head Boy, Girl, Deputes and House Captains.
We have 20 current members, where performance is evaluated yearly and opportunities for other pupils to apply.
Pupil leadership is at the very heart of the JLT and we have ensured, through delegation, that all members have individual responsibility for tasks set. We liaised with the PT Guidance responsible for the P7 Transition and discussed content for the video which was the responsibility of the S1 team. Collaboratively we created success criteria and provided the team with direction. S2 members have responsibility for advertising the JLT. Most recently, working with the PT of Creativity and Entrepreneurship, the JLT have been asked to present at a Parental Engagement Evening. S3 members are tasked with feedback, we encourage staff communication through a monthly newsletter update and have created a JLT Twitter account. The JLT have been further involved in the following events; they presented at the Scottish Learning Festival, met with Education Scotland, visitors from Character Scotland and attended the East Lothian Youth Summit where they had the opportunity to feed into the East Lothian Education Service Improvement Framework. The JLT have also discussed Personal Learning Plans and have had the opportunity to discuss their preferred model and impact that they have had on their Teaching and Learning. Pupils have also helped to create 'Ross High School's Expected Standards' document which encourages and promotes consistent behaviour throughout the school.
From work highlighted by the JLT and SEE survey Ross High have also established a '5 a week' programme. Where 5 randomly selected pupils from S1-S3 and 5 from S4-S6 attend a meeting with Principal Teacher (PT) Citizenship and Principal Teacher (PT) School Improvement (Katie Sheridan). They have an opportunity to feedback on the challenge questions proposed.
The material discussed provides the school with an opportunity to have a better understanding of pupil needs/wants and not just in general (SEE survey). Pupils also can see that they are being listened to and that their opinions do count – 'You Said, We did Boards', Expected Standards, Staff Interview Panels etc... This helps to create an ethos of respect.
This material could be used as an example of practice for use in another school context.