Pupil Voice – Sept 16 Newsletter
It’s been a busy first month for the new pupil voice as we settle into our new roles and responsibilities around the school. Our 10 person committee has been working hard in conjunction with the senior staff in order to properly represent the students of James Gillespie’s and give them a say in the way our school is run. Supporting us along the way is deputy head Sally Westerman who, along with holding a weekly meeting with us where we can discuss our ideas, has also been our link to the rest of the senior staff.
Our first order of business was to organise a student council. This was no easy feat and had me and the other 9 members running around the school, holding elections in each class in order to ensure everyone had a representative. However, the hard work paid off and the pupil voice is proud of the council it has assembled this year and is looking forward to the great ideas that will come from it. Our first pupil council was a big success with a number of topics debated and issues shared by the newly elected councillors. Many talked about the improvements they wanted to see in the school; a stronger teacher presence in the halls at break and lunch, as well as concerns regarding the new late entry system. All these issues have been reported to the staff and should hopefully be taken further. However, they didn’t just raise problems: the council also brought forward a multitude of suggestions for events and fundraising that could take place in the school such as bake sales, movie nights, and also the return of the much loved S1 Halloween Party- an event that the staff and the S6 pupils are passionate to revive. The council also put forward charities that we could work with and fundraise for such as Mercy Corps, The Yard and WaterAid. Finally, the council responded to the latest craze by arranging a bottle flipping competition that will take place on Thursday 6th October.
Outside the student councils there was more than enough to keep us all very busy- this includes a number of important meetings with local Marchmont councillor Alistair Phillip, where we spoke about how our school can engage with the local community. It also gave the students a chance to raise any problems they have with the area and to put forward opinions on how it could be improved. Furthermore, we met with staff at Mercy Corps who pitched to us the vital work that they do around the world helping communities rebuild their homes, educate their young people, and even train local people in new skills. We were all very impressed and hope to work with them going forward into the future.
One of our most important roles this year is the challenge of building a stronger school community to match our new building. This will be a regular theme in these newsletters as we feel it is a pressing need for the school and we would like to leave it as our legacy. To do this we have just implemented a new house points system for the five new Gillespie’s houses in order to nurture a sense of competition and community. These points will be awarded at competitive events across the school calendar, such as the sport day or the bottle flipping competition. It is hoped that by creating this new house points system we can foster a greater sense of community spirt and create a sense of house and a school pride.