School parliament to give students more of a say

THE OPENING OF PARLIAMENT -- representatives from National and also the Tuxford and Retford Oaks Academies, joined by teachers and special guests, Coun Keith Walker (Con) and his wife, Inga -- DISPIC NHUD11-2747-4
THE OPENING OF PARLIAMENT -- representatives from National and also the Tuxford and Retford Oaks Academies, joined by teachers and special guests, Coun Keith Walker (Con) and his wife, Inga -- DISPIC NHUD11-2747-4
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A PROGRESSIVE school in Hucknall has launched its first-ever student parliament in a bid to give pupils a greater voice.

The National Church Of England Academy has joined forces with its partner schools, Tuxford Academy at Newark and Retford Oaks Academy, to launch the innovative scheme.

The aim is to provide students with a platform from which to discuss projects and have input into the way the schools move forward.

At the first-ever meeting at National on Annesley Road, visiting students were given a tour of the school before getting down to business.

What followed was a lively debate featuring key subjects such as how the schools can support children who are dying at an alarming rate in the developing world.

Kathryn Mitford, chairman of the governors at National, said: “This is a very positive thing. The pupils took to it brilliantly on the opening day.

“There has been a very positive relationship in the past between the three schools.

“But the parliament is a good way to make sure that spreads among the pupils.

“It is early days and we have only just started. But on the first day, they worked well together, even though most had never met before.

“This is very much led by the children but there is a long-term commitment from everyone who is involved.”

The parliament is made up of student representatives elected from the ‘houses’ at each of the schools. In total, there are 24 ‘MPs’, aged between 12 and 24.

The first meeting was chaired by National’s head girl, 17-year-old Jess Bestwick.

Subsequent meetings will be held at each of the three venues on a rolling basis.

Other items on the agenda were ways in which National can strengthen its links with the Halcyon High School in Uganda.

A project is also in the pipeline to stage an inter-school sporting event in the form of a ‘mini-Olympics’ to coincide with the London 2012 Games.

Proposals include staging qualifiers in various sports among the three academies and their feeder primary schools before a large-scale festival of sport next year.

As well as discussing proposals, students on the parliament will be involved in helping pay for projects by arranging fundraising initiatives. Representatives will also report back to the rest of their classmates.