The Eco Council had a great time at Hanley Park planting bulbs. Clair, the Park Liaison Officer, talked to them about how planting is important to our eco system. They planted bluebells, wood anemone, snowdrops, winter aconite and wild daffodils. Go down to the park in the late spring to see the flourishes of flowers they have planted.
And this is what they will look like…
In October, our Year 6 School Councillors met together with other school councillors from the Seven Stars network. The group played team games and shared their thoughts on what activities could be done in the schools to promote anti-bulling. The group did an amazing job in planning what the Seven Stars schools would do during anti-bullying week. They even wrote their own rap! Look out for the music video on our website in the spring term!
On Tuesday 15th October, two of our Year 5 School Councillors got the opportunity to take part in the Local Democracy Children and Young People Conference. Whilst at the Kings Hall, they learnt about what democracy means and got to vote just like the grown-ups do. They met the Lord Mayor, visited the Council Chamber, and had a debate in the Lord Mayor’s Parlour. They had a wonderful time and now feel empowered to help make changes within our school!
During the summer term, members of the School Council met with other children from the Seven Stars and Mrs Vickie Barton from Entrust to discuss possible dangers when being online and how we could sure children were staying safe online.
During the morning, we focussed on 3 key areas:
We all shared our ideas about what the potential dangers were and what steps we could take to make sure those risks could be reduced.
We soon realised from our discussion that there were 4 key rules to follow when engaging in any of the three focussed areas:
Vickie shared a video created by Sandbach Snapppers which showed some of the dangers of being online. Click here to watch the video (opens in new tab).
In the afternoon, we discussed the video and brainstormed ideas for creating our own film to help to educate the children in our school to make good choices when online.
We then worked collaboratively to plan a sequence of scenes which could be used to create a short film.
Early in the autumn term, the group met again along with Mr Blurton, from Werrington Primary School to put our acting skills to the test. We created scripts and props, whilst also having an opportunity to use a green screen. We were really pleased with final film and think it warns of the dangers and gives advice on staying safe online. We would like to thank Mr Blurton for all of his hard work and support in putting the film together.
At St Mark’s Primary School, we understand the importance of sharing our ideas to help to improve the world around us. During local democracy week, we visited the Town Hall where we were able to share our thoughts and ideas with other children across the city about how we could improve Stoke-on-Trent and reduce anti-social behaviour. We used the ‘Polling Station’ to carry out a democratic vote about whether or not we needed more rubbish bins in city centres.
We then had an opportunity to look around the Mayor’s parlour and meet the Lord Mayor, Lilian Dodd.
Finally, we went into the Council Chambers where we had a chance to meet some more councillors and ask them questions about the building and the sorts of decisions that were made in there.
Seven Stars – Promoting healthy living
During the spring term, some of the school councillors met with other children from the Seven Stars and representatives for BeeActive to discuss the importance of a healthy lifestyle and how we could communicate that to our friends at school.
During the morning, we discussed what we meant by a healthy lifestyle and the sorts of things it included. We considered things like a balanced diet which reduced sugar intake, regular exercise which gets your heart pumping, ensuring we get plenty of sleep, the importance of staying hydrated and also the impact of electronic devices.
In the afternoon, we worked collaboratively using a design software programme to create a poster which could be displayed back at school. The aim of the poster was to give children information about how to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
We really enjoyed working with our friends from the Seven Stars and were really pleased with the outcome!
Tuesday 7th February 2017
The children arrived at Carmountside Primary Academy for a Seven Stars school council meeting. Once settled, the children took part in an ‘icebreaker’ activity to introduce themselves to the other members of the group.
The children from Carmountside Primary Academy took the Seven Stars representatives on a tour of their school, showing them parts of their school that they were really proud of.
The children then engaged in a book scrutiny. They were shown a success criteria for the elements that they should be looking for within the books. There was lots of discussion about always being positive about what they see. In their school groups, they looked at a selection of books from other schools and made notes using the success criteria. The quality of discussion that took place between the children was of a very high standard.
After lunch, the children engaged in a Mindfulness session. It gave the children a taste of the foundations needed to begin Mindfulness and meditation. The children all responded well to this and could explain how they felt during the session.
The children from St Mark’s C.E (A) Primary School and Etruscan Primary School thoroughly enjoyed the day and were enthusiastic about what they wanted to discuss and implement when they returned to school.
The week started with an assembly from the school council which focused on the main theme of Anti-bullying week.
POWER FOR GOOD!
The school council encouraged the children to think about how Anti-bullying is everyone’s responsibility. They explained the importance of being an ‘upstander’ in the battle against bullying.
Throughout the week, children engaged in activities designed to raise awareness of Anti-bullying and to allow them think about their own responsibilities and empowerment to make a difference.
These activities included:
The following week, each class presented their Anti-bullying poem to the whole school. These poems will be judged by the School Council and one will be selected to be the St Mark’s poem for Anti-bullying.
The School Council from both St Mark’s Primary School and Etruscan Primary School joined together to create friendship cookies as part of Anti-bullying week.
Children from both schools partnered up to make their cookies. Half of the ingredients was bought by Etruscan children and the other half by St Mark’s children. This was reinforcing the idea of team work. The children worked tremendously well together to create their cookies and really enjoyed tasting them at the end.
The school council was re-launched in September 2015. Two representatives were elected from each class from Year 1 to Year 6. Council representatives have a Meeting Book to record minutes from the council meetings and take notes during discussions with their class.
They decided that they wanted to raise awareness and celebrate Anti-bullying within our school. The School Council generated ideas of activities that could be completed during the whole school Anti-bullying week. They then shared their ideas with their classes.
After completing the Anti-bullying week, children (KS2) and all parents were asked to complete a questionnaire regarding bullying within our school. We used the results of the questionnaire to identify if, when and where bullying was taking place at St Mark’s. The findings were presented to classes and discussed.
After discussing the findings within classes the School Council representatives identified that children needed to look carefully at the playground during break-time and lunchtime. From this, they decided that they wanted to further develop the playground area to ensure that all children are engaged in positive activities during this time and therefore reducing any opportunities for bullying. They also requested that more staff were available on the playground during these times.
School Council representatives met with their classes to devise a list of activities that they would like to see on the playground. They then discussed these at their next school council meeting. They came up with several ideas as to how the playground could be organised or zoned and created a list of activities and resources that would need to be purchased. It was also arranged that the inclusion team carry out a playground duty to increase the number of staff on the playground.
Once the resources arrived, members of the school council wrote to the lunchtime supervisors, inviting them to attend a meeting to discuss our new plans.
The school councillors explained their ideas and how they needed the help of the lunchtime supervisors.
The school council then devised a time table of activities, identifying which ones needed to be adult lead, playground leader lead and independent. Since developing the playground provision, we have seen huge reduction in the number of injuries and incidence of negative behaviour.
An area that had also been brought up during council meetings was the choice of school dinners. When City Catering offered a choice in the lunchtime menu, the school council took the opportunity to ensure that everybody had a say in the meal choices that were available. School council representative presented their classes with the menu choices, which the class then had to vote on. The most popular choices were then put forward to City Catering to develop the menu.
In order to improve our school further and share ideas and best practice, the school council met with Seven Stars Network in the summer term. This consisted of school council representatives from other schools within the network. We were able to share the changes that we had made here at St Mark’s and discuss what we could do to improve further.
We met again with the Seven Stars in the autumn term to discuss and share ideas on how we will deliver anti-bullying week for 2016.