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Student council impress politicians

PUBLISHED: 03:17 21 November 2001 | UPDATED: 10:53 03 March 2010

CONNIE Summers is full of optimism about the future of her school.

"Everything has really come together now," said the 15-year-old, one of the members of Holywells High's newly-formed student council, who this week met cabinet minister Robin Cook.

CONNIE Summers is full of optimism about the future of her school.

"Everything has really come together now," said the 15-year-old, one of the members of Holywells High's newly-formed student council, who this week met cabinet minister Robin Cook.

"It's good that Mrs Grimes is now the head because everybody knows her and the teachers all work together as a team. There's a good atmosphere here."

Nathan Castello, also 15, agreed, and said the student council was making a real difference to life at Holywells.

"Pupils' voices are being heard," he said. "I think it's really good."

Mr Cook was full of enthusiasm for the youngsters' approach.

"I sat in on a meeting of the school council, and I was very impressed by the way the pupils handled themselves," he said.

"Their behaviour is much better than MPs on some House of Commons committees!"

Each year group has its own council which meets once a week, and concerns, issues or suggestions raised at these meetings then go forward to the main school council.

"It's nice to have somewhere to put ideas forward," said Connie. She added that many pupils might be too shy to take part in the council itself, but feel happier to suggest ideas at the meetings for their year group or tell their representative.

I went along to one of the school council meetings in the conference room, and found it was run very much in the style of a proper public meeting, with chairman of governors Chris Jowett, local community policeman Pc Martin Sheeran and PTA chairman George Debman all present.

On this occasion, discussion mostly centred on the Children in Need fundraising efforts, which pupils organised themselves.

They not only came up with unusual dressing-up themes for pupils, but also wrote a letter to teachers, asking them to come in school uniform for the day!

Uniform itself was another subject for discussion, with a suggestion from one year group that the school could explore introducing a polo shirt with a logo, similar to those which some other local high schools have brought in, as an alternative to the traditional shirt or blouse.

Pupils will also be discussing other topics at future meetings, including problem behaviour.

"I think the school council has been excellent so far," said Ruth Everard, one of the deputy headteachers. "We had democratic elections for the councils for each year and then for the whole school council."

She said the council was helping pupils to take responsibility and discover how to run a public meeting, and was relevant to citizenship, which is becoming a new subject on the National Curriculum.

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