What is a Student Council?
A Student Council is a representative structure through which Students in SPIP can become involved in the affairs of the School, working in partnership with School Management, Staff and Parents for the benefit of the School and its students.
Why have a Student Council?
Students have a valuable contribution to make to the effectiveness of their School and their involvement in the operation of the School is itself a valuable part of the educations process for the Students.
A Student Council provides an opportunity for students to engage in a structured partnership with Teachers, Parents and School Managers in the operation of their School. Research indicates that Student Councils can improve academic standards and reduce dropout rates in Schools. Student Councils can create a sense of ownership of the School and its activities among the student population.
The establishment of a Student Council gives students an opportunity to acquire the sort of communication, planning and organisational skills which will be of benefit to them in their future lives. It enables Students to take responsibility for projects and to demonstrate that they can manage and bring such projects to successful conclusion. Moreover, the contribution made by a Student Council to the development of School Policy in a number of areas can have significant benefits for Students and the School. School Policies are far more likely to be successful where they are clearly understood and accepted by all partners within the School community.
The Education Act recognises that students of a School will take the lead role in the establishment and operation of a Student Council, although the Act also provides an important role for the Board of Management in supporting the establishment and ongoing development of the Student Council.
The Role of the Student Council
The main role of a Student Council as set out in the Education Act is “to promote the interests of the School and the involvement of Students in the affairs of the School, in co-operation with the Board, Parents and Teachers”.
A Student Council will set its own objectives, which will vary from School to School. Some general objectives could include:
• To enhance communication between Students, Management, Staff and Parents.
• To promote an environment conducive to educational and personal development.
• To promote friendship and respect among pupils.
• To support Management and Staff in the development of the School.
To represent the views of the Students on matters of general concern to them.
A Student Council will identify activities that it would like to be involved in organising, although the final decision on the activities of a Student Council should be agreed with School Management.
Key Functions of Student Councils
The functions and activities of a Student Council should support the aims and objectives of the Council and promote the development of the School and the welfare of its Students. In planning and undertaking activities during the course of the School year, the Council should:
• Work closely with School Management, Teachers and Parents.
• Consult regularly with Students in the School.
• Involve as many Students as possible in the activities of the Council.
There is a wide range of activities of benefit to the School community which a Student Council may wish to undertake, some of which are outlined below: