Letters Extra: Get the students involved

28th February 2003 at 00:00

In 2020 Vision (TES 24.1.03) you refer to Ofsted awarding the accolade 'outstanding' to Sandringham School, St Albans and that this has been achieved, in part, through the participation of students in serious decision making in the school.

This fits entirely with the findings of a study I recently conducted in 12 'more than usually participative' comprehensive schools for CSVDfES to which you referred in The Issue (TES 14.2.03).

The Phoenix Education Trust was founded by Michael Young in 2001, the last of his many socially innovative projects, to foster precisely these participative democratic skills and values in our schools. International evidence is accumulating which suggests that where schools are able to establish such an ethos creativity, learning and social commitment all flourish.

The values of the Phoenix Education Trust are 'modelled' in two small but very democratic and student participative schools in Devon - The Park Junior School and Sands (Secondary) School . As at Sandringham School, students at Sands take an active part in the appointment of new teachers. In fact all 70 students are involved through the school meeting to which candidates have to present themselves after having taught a number of 'trial lessons' during the previous day. A daunting but successful process.

The inclusion of 'participation and responsible action' as one of the three elements of the new Citizenship curriculum and the emphasis given to it in the Ofsted guidelines for inspectors will hopefully stimulate many more developments throughout our school system in the coming years.

Derry Hannam
Project Director
The Phoenix Education Trust


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