In autumn, we hold the Student Voice Presidential Election. Any student, in any year, can apply to become Student President, via application form. Up to eight are selected for interview, and following this four candidates are invited to campaign. Each candidate is required to create a campaign team, and receives a budget. In the week of the Presidential Elections, candidates deliver campaign speeches in turn, in assemblies to our entire student body. There then follows a ‘Campaign Day’ where candidates and their teams promote their issues, and gather support on the school gates, and during breaks and lunchtimes. There have been some very imaginative approaches in the past, including hired lunchtime magicians to chocolate fountains! Polling Day swiftly follows, with students casting votes in our recreated Polling Station. Finally, the results are announced by the Returning Officer, in the Inauguration Ceremony in front of the whole school. We have been very lucky to welcome The Mayor of Redcar & Cleveland to act as Returning Officer in each election so far, and to address our student body and meet afterwards with candidates and their teams.
Our process is designed to mirror British Elections, in that each student receives a polling card, and brings it in to vote, using official polling booths, and ballot boxes. We are determined that all our students will know how to vote in the local and national elections, and that they understand the importance of using their vote, and attempting to find candidates who most closely match their views. We want students to appreciate the importance of our world renowned British democratic process, and who this is intrinsic to our British values.
In autumn students also apply to become Chairs of our Student Voice Satellite Groups. Any student who applies is formally interviewed by a panel that includes our Chair of Governors, Mrs Patricia Taylor. The knowledge and enthusiasm of candidates is always astounding, as is their approach to the interviews. Chairs and Vice-Chairs are thus appointed, and all are then invited to join the Satellite Groups, which are semi-autonomous but supported by staff members.
How is Student Voice organised?
Everything that takes place at Outwood Academy Bydales is organised through the ‘Deeps’ structure hence Student Voice sits centrally in each of the four ‘Deeps’ The President and Vice-Presidents oversee the work of each Satellite Group, and there is a collective meeting each two weeks to drive forward ideas and initiatives.
The following Satellite Groups exist within Outwood Academy Bydales:
FUNDRAISING & HOSPITALITY
TRANSITION & PEER MENTORS
SPORTS VOICE & PUBLICITY
Why is Student Voice important?
We believe that Student Voice is a vehicle that enables students to become much more involved in the organisational structure of the Academy and the wider community. At Outwood Academy Bydales, Student Voice is seen as an effective way to help transform education from the ‘bottom up’, through student input into Deep Learning, Deep Support and Deep Experience and Deep Leadership.
Students remain at the heart of everything we undertake at the Academy and The Outwood Family of Schools, therefore Student Voice is placed at the centre of everything that we undertake.
The main objectives are to:
Engage in constructive dialogue with teachers.
Give students the skills and qualities necessary to develop both during their time in the Academy and in future life.
Develop their leadership skills by encouraging innovation
Support the needs of other students in the Academy
Embed approaches to teaching and learning that encourage learners to take greater responsibility for their own progress and achievement.
Through Student Voice roles, young people will have the opportunity to take a part in the ongoing improvements in the Academy environment; the learning of all students, the well-being of students and staff, the management of behaviour, including praising success, and the decisions which affect the way we change and develop.