We know that, in all probability, you’ve already established a school council; 9 out of every 10 schools have. But is it working as well as you would like? Is it delivering all of the benefits to pupils and the school community that you were expecting? We also know that, since 2008, you have had the increased burden of trying to involve your pupils on core policy matters. But without a supportive school and class council structure that takes a ‘whole school’ approach, increased student participation and involvement can be a lot of effort for very little reward.

Our Mobile Units

Members of the Leeds Youth Council.
We have facilitated LYC, a group made up from
Leeds School Council members since 2008

Our participation team are some of the UK’s leading practitioners of participative work with young people, with more than 16 years intensive experience. As winners of a national Children’s Champion Award in 2006 for our contribution to participation, we can really transform your school’s involvement of pupils. Since 2008, we have facilitated the city-wide Leeds Youth Council and we have been helping organisations like the CWDC to involve young people in the recruitment of senior staff for the last 5 years.

We can...

• Run whole school elections, with a ‘whole school’ approach that lets everyone know that their opinion counts and will go on counting
• Organize and facilitate school council meetings
• Train school council members in core skills
• Help to involve pupils in staff recruitment
• Help students to develop and implement policies
• Get your council really working with governors
• Offer independent advice and best practice guidance
• Introduce innovative uses of new media in voting
• and participative democracy for students

What do you stand to gain by having a high-functioning school and class council structure really working for your school?

The Active Citizenship Driver: Developing life skills

School councils provide a basis for active learning of important life skills, such as speaking and listening skills, teamwork, emotional literacy, problem-solving, moral reasoning skills, self-esteem and self confidence. Pupil’s experiences on school councils can provide an important foundation for learning about citizenship. School and class councils enable pupils to have a voice and to understand that their opinions count.

The Performance Driver: Improving behaviour

Positive peer leadership means that the responsibility for maintaining good behaviour is shifted away from teachers and towards members of the classroom and school community. Pupils become able to resolve conflicts amongst their peers and this means that disruptive behaviour, vandalism, truancy and exclusions are more likely to reduce.

The Improvement Driver: Building the school community

Communication between pupils and teachers, senior management and governors will improve. Your school will develop into a community where pupils and teachers work in partnership towards shared goals. Initiatives like peer mediation will enable pupils to support vulnerable classmates and promote an inclusive and caring community where all pupils feel valued and safe.

The Rights Driver: Valuing young people’s opinions

The level of involvement of your school council in governance is one of the strongest statements of commitment you can make to children’s rights and the spirit and outcomes of Every Child Matters.


The schools making sustained progress [in improving behaviour] sought feedback from the students about how well the new strategies were working. They ensured that the school council was strengthened and that the students knew that their voices would be heard.

Training and support for pupils is essential if they are to contribute effectively to decision making…They can also benefit from specific skills training, particularly in relation to managing meetings.

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The Youth Association, 12 South Parade, Wakefield, West Yorkshire WF1 1LR
Registered Charity no. 519883 Registered Company no. 2154503
Telephone: 01924 333400 Fax: 01924 333401 Email:
The Youth Association - championing good youth work since 1904