The term pupil leadership refers to education principles and practices that reflect the importance of providing children with the opportunities and support to play a role in making the decisions that affect them. The principles of effective pupil leadership include:
- Recognising that pupils have logical perspectives and opinions on issues that matter in the classroom, in the school, and in the community.
- Giving pupils an active role in influencing decisions about these issues as well as in the implementation of these decisions.
- Enabling pupils to participate as active young citizens.
There is much evidence to suggest that when pupils engage with pupil leadership programmes that have a positive impact their capacity for learning increases.
Developing participation and leadership skills
In order to develop a leadership model which builds upon the knowledge and skills of all pupils within the school, pupil leadership takes a number of forms. These include classroom-based practices, whole-school projects and programmes, and the joint leadership of community-based research.
In the classroom:
- Involving pupils in conversations and decisions about “Codes of Conduct”.
- Engaging pupils in conversations and decisions about teaching, learning and assessment.
- Encouraging pupils to develop and share their own opinions about issues and to engage in debate, discussion and analysis of those issues.
In the school:
- Involving pupils in the decision-making of the school through participating in the Pupil Parliament.
- Electing pupils to meaningful roles of MPs.
- Engaging pupils as members and participants in key school processes such as staff recruitment
- Involving pupils in peer support, buddying, mentoring or coaching programmes.
- Inviting and enabling pupils to undertake research and consultation about aspects of the school that may need change or improvement.
In the community:
- Supporting pupils to develop and implement community-based projects, possibly in partnership with other agencies, to enhance and support learning.
- Enabling pupils to engage with local government and the wider community.