Don't Stagn8 Innov8!

1st October 2004 at 01:00
DON'T STAGN8 INNOV8! By Katy Ball and Gary Wilson. Kirklees School Effectiveness Service pound;25 Tel: 01484 225778

This small colour booklet plus CD and posters is aimed at the text-messaging generation. It uses a slightly over-earnest tone to "promote student ownership and empower the student voice". Hence the trendy title.

Some readers may find the style gr8s a little. I didn't exactly h8 it, although I did find the relentless attempt to engage with students in (supposedly) their language rather desper8. The aim is to make school council seem fashionable and worth belonging to. So there are posters inviting students to join in the deb8; a guide to running a meeting; the inevitable "top tips" for success; and lots of talk about how "cool" it is to be involved and to achieve.

Based on an initial survey of school rewards, the text takes students through the process of establishing and running a consultation group and putting plans into practice. What's good about all this is that it doesn't perpetuate the view that school councils exist to debate endlessly on uniform and the state of the toilets. It represents a cleverly thought-out programme of how the results from the questionnaire might be used.

Reservations about the style aside, this is a useful resource for key stages 2 and 3. Although somewhat expensive, it's certainly a purchase to contempl8.

Geoff Barton is headteacher at King Edward VI School, Suffolk

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