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The Student Voice

This week in assembly I fed back to the boys the things that were shared at the Student Council meeting held just before half-term. 

The Student Council is an important body, and I am delighted by the boys’ engagement with it. I look forward to every meeting, and the boys' contributions are mature and thoughtful. They know I can’t agree to every request (curtains for the Year 8 prep space, Toys, for example), but over time the Student Council has made many suggestions which have come to pass.  

Here is a sample list of some things they have helped to make happen:

  • The table tennis tables
  • The basketball hoops in the yard
  • The return of the student newspaper
  • The return of Form of the Week
  • The return of Gold, Silver and Bronze certificates
  • More school trips
  • The Senior Play
  • The Eco Committee

'Save the Bush'

A fantastic recent example of the boys ‘having a say’ is regarding the bush next to Toys. The possibility was raised (by me) in the Student Council back in the summer that the bush would be removed, and the area re-developed for use at break time. I was asking for the boys’ views on what we could possibly put there instead. We had an initial discussion but agreed that the Student Council would revisit the idea this year. Last term this was discussed again, and whilst there was some positivity towards the idea, it was clear that not all agreed; we decided to give it some more time. It is clear that I had stoked strong views, and shortly before the School Council met again, I was presented with the petition that you can see below. Some enterprising young boys had started a campaign to ‘Save the Bush’ (including a chant, I believe) and had managed to collect over 100 signatures. This was discussed by the Council, and a decision was taken to pause any planned development.

This reveals a number of things about our boys:

  1. They are very enterprising!
  2. They feel confident enough to go against something that I was championing
  3. They had the determination to see it through

Some may know that I was a Politics student, and I of course love this sort of thing. I have written previously about the power of disagreement. I believe passionately in free speech, and yes, I believe in some well-placed, non-violent direct action.

Pupil Voice, as it is sometimes called, is important at Pilgrims’, and in the assembly on Monday I encouraged the boys to continue to speak out: in Student Council, with their teachers, and yes, when it comes to bigger issues perhaps even with some non-violent direct action.  Well played, boys; well played.

Alistair Duncan
Interim Head

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