Staff let pupils take over

SENIOR staff at a Felixstowe school took a back seat for the day - as students took over running the campus.Headteacher at Deben High, Rob Cawley, handed over the reins to fifteen-year-old Aline Porteous and her leadership team as the pupils gained an insight into the behind-the-scenes work of running a large high school.

SENIOR staff at a Felixstowe school took a back seat for the day - as students took over running the campus.

Headteacher at Deben High, Rob Cawley, handed over the reins to fifteen-year-old Aline Porteous and her leadership team as the pupils gained an insight into the behind-the-scenes work of running a large high school.

New head Aline was helped by her deputy, William Tink, 15, and Daniel Marsh, 13, Katie Taylor, 16, Aimee Darke, 15, and Alex-Leigh Pearson, 16, who took on jobs of assistant head teachers with specific roles such as assessment, achievement and behaviour, arts co-ordinator and school manager.

The group had to run the daily management meeting, and spent time in classrooms observing lessons, showing visitors around the school, and dealing with problems.

Although the students had spent time shadowing those they would take over from, Aline said the day had been a real eye-opener.

“It has been really interesting and given us a real insight - I don't think any of us realised just how much work goes on to run a school,” she said.

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“We didn't realise how early staff came in and it's not just 8.20am to 3.30pm!

“There is so much planning and preparation to each day.”

Staff and fellow pupils had respected the roles they were playing - though there had been a few mischievous requests for pay rises from teachers.

Daniel said: “I have been looking at issues of behaviour in the classroom - especially those times when a teacher may have to go out for a few minutes. There is a lot to think about.”

William said: “It's been a really good experience. It's interesting to see how people react differently to you when you have a title.”

Mr Cawley said the idea came from a Building Schools for the Future conference when it was felt students should know more about how the school is run in order to look at how it could be run in the future and be better informed to make comments on changes, particularly important with decisions to be made soon on a new £40 million high school for the town..

“It was felt it would be a fantastic idea to give the students the opportunity to run the school for a day which would give them that experience,” he said.

“They were interviewed for the jobs and shadowed the teachers, doing the things they do each day, and attending leadership meetings to get a feel for the roles.”

Is you school taking part in an interesting project? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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