Council uses 'sandpit' sessions to consult pupils

6th August 2010 at 01:00
A south Wales council has trialled a unique way of consulting with pupils over its contentious school reorganisation plans.

Blaenau Gwent is proposing to axe its school sixth forms and send pupils to a new post-16 "learning zone" on the former steelworks site in Ebbw Vale, to be run by FE provider Coleg Gwent.

This decision has prompted a series of protests and petitions from pupils at the Brynmawr foundation school, which is threatened with closure.

But the council, which says it is committed to "modern and wide-ranging consultation", has recently held a series of innovative pupil consultation events.

Working with the University of Wales, Newport, the council held 12 "sandpit" sessions, each two hours long. Pupils aged between six and 18 were invited to say what they liked and disliked about their schools.

They used software to write about their schools, and building blocks to model an ideal school before filling in a questionnaire.

Council officials and Coleg Gwent staff were on hand to answer questions.

Many pupils said they liked going to their school. They liked the ethos, community spirit and uniform, and felt inspired by their teachers.

However, many pupils had a poor opinion of their current facilities, saying their classrooms were "old-fashioned", "too small", "dark" and plainly decorated.

The sessions are part of the council's formal consultation process, called "We're listening". The consultation closes on August 14.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now