Class Meeting Questions - top four school examples
Schools on the Smart School Council programme hold regular class meetings that easily involve every pupil in a school. Supported by our Class Meeting Tool, these are quick, pupil-led meetings based around a single question. The questions are decided by the school - usually the Communication Team.
But who picks the question? And what does a good class meeting question look like?
Here's four fantastic examples from schools on the programme.
1. Discussing local issues
Richard from The Hart School in Rugeley (secondary) tells us their favourite question was:
'Do you think the safety of students will be put at risk, if ALL crossing patrols are removed from the front of the school?'
This is because it is an issue in the local area. Pupils then acted on the results by creating petitions and working with the crossing patrol team to consult with the council who decided to make the cuts. They're awaiting a decision on what's going to happen next.
Richard's advice when thinking of class meeting questions is to use the options of 'Strongly Agree, Agree, Not Sure, Disagree and Strongly Disagree’ to allow a broader range of views and discussion to be explored.
'Our school holds class meeting for everyone pupil so we ensure all voices are heard, this allows us to both listen to a broader spectrum of views, but also allows us to target individual year groups by analysing their results to see if there is differences of opinions throughout the year groups'
2. Helping to improve the school
Emma from John Curwen Primary Academy in Leeds tells us their favourite class meeting question was:
'You told us that you would like more activities in the muga, what would you like see in there?' (The muga is our outside area used for sports)
The pupils voted overhwhelmingly for dodgeball, and the school was then able to organise two separate dodgeball clubs for Year 1/3 and Year 5/6.
Her advice on creating great questions is to look at the different suggestions that come back to the communication team through the class meetings. They use these to form class meeting questions and guide their action teams.
'The class meetings involve every pupil as it gives the opportunity for children who are less confident within the class to have an opinion. The communication team are growing in confidence and are learning how to share ideas from the quieter children within the class to drive discussions in the class meetings. It allows children to see how their vote has made a difference and the impact this is making within school'
3. Engaging pupils in action
Christine from Elm Wood Primary School in Manchester tells us about a great question that their pupils picked:
'How should we raise money for the school?'
One of the choices was to participate in Elm Wood's Got Talent. This ended up being the winning option and was an extremely popular event. In previous years pupils had requested it but it had never been made a reality. Pupils being engaged in the discussion can really help to engage them in action as they can feel more involved.
'We hold class meetings that involve all pupils because the school is there for them so therefore they should have some input on decisions that affect them'
4. Discussing topical issues
Charis from King's Lynn Academy says that love asking questions to make the students think. They have two types of questions:
Questions related to a school issue
Questions on SMSC topics or current affairs that help the students to discuss important issues outside of school and their small town. It helps them to engage with a wider issue.
Here's some of their favourite questions:
'What do you think would encourage students at KLA to read more?'
'Sunday 11th November 2018 marked 100 years since the end of the Great War. Some people worry that, now that all WWI veterans are dead, people will begin to forget. How do you think we could make sure that future generations are aware of the importance of Remembrance Day?'
'Very few young people in Britain feel engaged with politics; how do you think more young people could feel interested and involved?'
They've also asked questions about the teacher retention crisus, use of plastic, hard-hitting issues before the watershed and tipping in restaurants.
Her advice on picking question is to choose topics that get the students talking and really thinking about their opintions. Even those they ask about school that lead to a direct action always feel like the students are discusssing an important or interesting issue. Get the question right and the discussion comes more naturally!
'To have real student voice you need everyone! Now students of all ages, genders and groups are able to share what they think moving away from the idea that only certain people are able to have a voice in their school. It was the natural next step for us. Now instead of just the 100 Student Commissioners, we have 800 voices every meeting'
So what should you do?
To pick great class meeting questions, share this blog with your Communication Team and get them thinking about:
Ways the school can be improved
Local, community or global issues that they might want to engage with
Check the school calendar to see what's coming up!
Check previous class meetings for ideas on class meetings
Asking other pupils about their ideas
Asking staff or Governors about anything they'd like to ask the school