Promoting pupil voice to enhance trust, responsibility and pupil progression.

Posted by Chris Barsby

Holy Trinity is a CE Primary School in Rochdale. The headteacher, Mark Kenyon, has a strong educational philosophy which he has shared very effectively with children, parents, staff and governors.  His approach is very child-centred and he believes very strongly that children should be listened to so that their needs are met, and they have opportunities to excel in as many of the areas of the curriculum as possible. 

Consequently, the curriculum is very broad and very rich, the school having sought the views of pupils through different councils. Children are elected by classmates to these councils and are very clear about the responsibilities which go with this privilege, including being a model pupil.  Through regular meetings with staff, children share the views of the others they represent, with a clear understanding that all wishes cannot automatically be fulfilled.

This process means that children readily take on responsibilities within the day-to-day running of the school, commensurate with their age and experience. This leads to increasing confidence as they move up through the school, so much so, that by the time they are in Year 6, Mark is unable to appoint just one head girl and one head boy and their deputies, so several children hold these titles and share the responsibility. 

When I visited the school for their Quality Mark renewal assessment in March 2018, the maturity of the current pupil leadership made a very deep impression. The school gave a wholly open and honest account of its successes and the things it wants to improve, as well as the evidence to back it up.

They were able to show, at a fundamental level, excellent tracking of progress in reading, writing and mathematics, ensuring that staff understood children's attainment and their next steps in learning.

" When I visited the school for their Quality Mark renewal assessment in March 2018, the maturity of the current pupil leadership made a very deep impression "

By the time they are in upper key stage 2, children demonstrate an impressive understanding of the mechanics of learning and teaching, because of the guidance provided from their earliest years. They say that from the start they have been encouraged to respond openly and honestly to teachers' questions without fear of making a mistake – indeed, they fully appreciate how a mistake can be turned into learning, and how it is as important for teachers to know about children's misconceptions as it is to know about their achievements.  They believe that their teachers are responsible for the quality of children's learning (because they say so!) but understand that they, as learners, have the responsibility to employ the learning behaviours which have also been inculcated from the earliest stage.  

As a result of these extraordinarily powerful communication systems, children at Holy Trinity are receiving an education which is both highly enjoyable and very effective. This contributed to Holy Trinity's achievement of the judgement of “outstanding” in all aspects in its section 5 inspection of November 2014, a standard which it maintains in the present day.

Written by Chris Barsby, Quality Mark Assessor

Quality Mark, the nationally recognised accreditation for continuous quality improvement for English & mathematics, encourages and examines a variety of teaching approaches to support learning.

Quality Mark information pack


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