Scotland: Transforming a Pupil Council

Model Nr.: 
Developed by: 
Musselburgh Grammar School and Education Scotland, Scotland
  • How Good is Our School
  • Learner Participation in Educational Settings
Purpose of the material: 

This model explores the process one secondary school in East Lothian Council, Scotland (Musselburgh Grammar School) went through to re-establish their pupil council with a renewed focus on Learning and Teaching. 

This model aims will share:


  • The pupil consultation identified a need for change from the structure of the previous Council
  • How the school created a more effective Pupil Council that had a stronger Pupil Voice
  • How pupils had a greater involvement in creating the new structure for the Council and to have a greater presence at Consultation events
  • Pupil Council Application Form
  • Assembly PowerPoint created by and led by pupils
  • Associated Lead Teachers organised for several pupils from the previous Council to visit a school outwith the Local Authority, and one which had a strong Pupil Voice. The previous Council had been resistant to change and it was felt visiting a school with a strong Pupil Voice would be a motivation for change. There was opportunity to meet with several groups of pupils who were involved with Pupil Voice in a variety of ways; this allowed for pupils to ask questions and see the impact that strong Pupil Voice could have on engagement and ownership within the school context.
  • Our Pupils recognised a strong voice and upon their return, held an open meeting to identify and discuss changes they would like to see and make within their own Council
  • Format decided by pupils:
  • Separate Junior & Senior Councils to ensure equality between Junior & Senior School
  • Senior Leaders & House Captains to link to a registration class
  • Numbers in each Council would be reduced - no longer one person from each registration class - approximately 12 members in each Council - 4 from each year group
  • 2 point agenda for each meeting - one from the school, one from the pupils - items with a focus on Learning & Teaching
  • Lead Teachers were to feed back to Senior Management Team
  • Pupils to decide on when to invite a Senior Management Team representative to attend meetings


  • Senior Team and/or House Captains led assemblies ‘selling’ Pupil Council/Pupil Voice etc
  • Pupils asked to register their interest to be a member
  • Group interviews took place for interested members. Panel included Senior Leaders


  • Senior Leaders Led Assemblies for Pupil Council
  • Lead Teachers met with Senior Leaders
  • The Senior Leader Team from each House Group decided which of them would lead assemblies
  • Lead Teachers provided a Powerpoint structure that pupils could use to base their assembly powerpoint on
  • Training took place on leading an assembly looking at presentation skills:
  • strong visuals
  • using concise key information
  • using tone of voice
  • stance - looking at the audience with head up
  • speed of speech


Using Twitter as a tool to communicate to a wider audience

@MGSPupil Council

Senior Leaders leading an assembly to promote the Pupil Council

How you can use this material in your practice: 

The process and materials can support schools who want to build a pupil council from the ground up, give opportunity for greater engagement and encourage active participation of their learners.


This material reflects only the author’s view; the Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.