Playgrounds are a happier place with a pupil council

21st April 2000 at 01:00
PLAYGROUNDS and scran in primaries, loos and scran in secondaries are the top concerns of pupils in Stirling, a study of pupil councils has revealed.

The authority believes elected councils are making a difference to school life by providing first-hand experience of decision-making and the democratic process and so far 16 primaries and seven secondaries are taking part.

The study found that the main concern among primary pupils was the playground. They are calling for timetabled football, play equipment and painted games on the ground, such as peever and train tracks. They also backed pupil "buddies" to watch the youngest children. Their second major concern was school meals and the tuckshop. Several classes at one school complained about the lack of healthy choices, small portions and shortage of main courses for the last sitting. The pupil council took up the matterand the secretary wrote to the school meals supervisor. Another school initiated bully boxes where pupils could write the names of those involved in bullying.

As ever, the state of the toilets appeared on a number of agendas. Pupils complained about missing locks on doors and a lack of drinking water. A door was missing on one cubicle and toilet seats broken in others.

Secondary pupils placed toilets top of their concerns, followed by improvements in catering, lockers, wet weather protection and cycle racks. In their 54-page report, researchers Tom Dobie and Marion Wallace report: "In one school pupils were asked to take responsibility for maintaining standards at their toilets and to date the headteacher reported that he had 'zero problems'."

Active Citizenship - A Study of Pupil Councils is available from Stirling's children's service (01786 442662).

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