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'Listen to pupil voice – your school will be better for it'

Empowering young people to have a real say in how things are done can lead to tangible improvements in all aspects of school life, but it requires a big commitment and brave teachers, finds Henry Hepburn

Give pupils a voice and reap the benefits

The man strides in with a bulging rubbish bag and the pupils in the room feel his glare on them. He proceeds to dump the contents: a prodigious amount of litter collected from around the neighbourhood. His point has been made.

The message – not an uncommon one at local community group meetings – was this: pupils at the Royal High School were ruining the area by blithely discarding their lunchtime detritus, leaving an older and more responsible generation to pick up after them. And, as pupils were attending this particular meeting, the man decided it was time to make that point in an ...

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