DASP Student Voice
An account of a typical Student Voice meeting
To give you an idea of what happens at a DASP student voice meeting, the following describes what happened at the St Mary's Puddletown Pyramid Student Voice meeting on 22nd October 2009. This took place in the school library at St Mary's.
Schools present were:
St Mary's Middle
Piddle Valley First
with apologies from Frome Valley, Milborne and Cheselbourne
The meeting was chaired by Hamish and Tara from St Mary's, helped (as it was their first meeting) by Mr Martin from Broadmayne. The minutes were also taken by a student from St Mary's directly to a laptop. These were distributed, via e-mail, to all schools involved by the end of the same day! The meeting began by getting everyone to discuss 3 things they like about their school. They then shared these thoughts with the other school representatives. The sort of things that were mentioned were the school library, teachers, good children(!), good equipment, school lunches and trips. Also, St Mary's wanted to especially mention their Activities week and Anti Bullying Campaign. They then had to pick what their favourite thing was. One school said that it was the school meals that were delivered, because they had a choice from 3 hot meals (including vegetarian).
This discussion was a good way to get people talking about the things they cared about in school. They then talked about how what was discussed at these meetings got fed back to their own schools. Also the question of how often to have a meeting was raised and certainly varied from school to school (but in all instances were regular). There was also variation in how reps were selected. In most schools it was by election. Sometimes, with younger children selection was by teachers or drawn from a hat.
As is to be expected in DASP, there was serious discussion of environmental issues in schools. Lots of really good ideas were shared and you could see reps busily scribbling down the ones they wanted to take back to their school! These included composting, a 'bug hotel', a music garden with playable instruments made from discarded items. A couple of schools took leftover food from school meals to be used as chicken feed locally. One school collected unwanted clothes and shoes for a textile collection, for which the school got paid. Paper recycling was also a popular activity. Not to mention turning off lights, using energy saving light bulbs and making use of scrap items. All the children showed a great awareness of how schools can make a difference to our environment.
Soon it was time to get back to school, but everyone left with ideas for their own school. The meeting's young 'Chairs' did an excellent job of keeping the meeting lively and on track. All realised that these meetings were a great chance to bring up the concerns of young people and to share the positive. Across all threes of DASP's mini pyramids, these meetings are a indication of the power of the Student Voice. And the DASP structure means that representatives from all schools can meet regularly as a whole body as well.