It’s getting towards the end of term now and I can sense all teachers getting the ‘end of term’ feeling. It’s surprising how mentally and physically draining teaching can be. Especially when there are year 11 assessments and the stresses that come with revision and exam prep. So the last two weeks have been pretty full on. Add in an interview and organising a surprise 50th for my mum, parents evening, a BTEC course, football training and as you can imagine, I am a tired individual.
This week I have decided to blog about pupil voice. This is a tool I think needs to be used in the right way. You may remember last summer I created a survey for all the girls in the school based on competition. The results were really interesting. You can read more here. Following on from this, I have decided to create a new survey using survey monkey that I will give to the whole school. The main reason I want to carry out this survey is to find out what we can do or change to encourage more participation in PE. We have a high level of participation in lessons anyway, but the problem comes at an extra curricular level. We offer clubs but not many pupils attend. I want to find out why.
One possible reason for this is transport. In the last couple of years the bus routes have been altered and provision has been cut, this means for pupils who live further away, they would have to wait for public buses and get home a lot later. However, I feel there is a solution and a way around some of the potential issues.
I am also hoping that this survey could help us adapt the curriculum next year for each year group. What sports they like and what would they like to see more of. I feel the power of pupil voice can sometime be overlooked. At the end of the day, we are there for the pupils, they are the reason we got into teaching, so offering the best and most enjoyable curriculum for them should create a more positive learning environment.
Children appreciate being asked their opinion, and more often than not will freely share it with you. Of course, there are the pupils who don’t necessarily like giving their opinion, or who don’t like to give the impression that they care. But still, each individual matters. I truly believe that there is a sport for everyone, it’s just a matter of finding it. Hopefully, this survey could help some pupils access more of what they like.
We have a school council at our school. This is made up of a representative from each tutor group and they meet once a term. This is a great opportunity for pupils to gain experience and confidence sharing their views. They successfully brought in V neck jumpers a few years ago and their voice is listened to. It’s important that we don’t just ask their opinion and then do nothing about it. Obviously, the suggestions need to be realistic and they understand that not all of their suggestions can be implemented, but giving them the opportunity and listening to them shows that as a school, the pupils do matter. Teachers need to value and respect their opinions. So long may it continue.
I always make a point to chat to pupils in the corridors or as we are walking to and from lessons. Asking then what they do out of school, what clubs they want to attend. The pupils at my school are more than happy to chat and tell you about their day. In fact, half of the time they tell me things without me prompting them to do so. Listening to pupils is such an important part of teaching, they will be honest and are your best critics. If I can improve what I do to benefit them, then I am happy to hear what they have to say. Within reason of course. As with anything, sometimes they can take it too far, you will always get the minority sharing their unrealistic views that aren’t helpful to anyone. But that can’t be helped.
In summary, I am hoping this survey will have an impact and we can get more pupils to attend our extra curricular clubs. Even if it just gives us some of the reasons for their lack of effort or attendance so we can begin to improve numbers. My worry is that children are just getting more comfortable and they can’t be bothered to come. It is generally the younger pupils who come along, which means that from year 9 onwards, the attendance is worse. Watch this space for the results.