ESF - English Schools Foundation

ESF students meet to discuss council set-up

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 12 April, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 12 April, 2008, 12:00am

Students are hoping to gain a greater say in how the English Schools Foundation operates their schools, with plans under way to establish a student council.

Thirty student leaders from across the foundation's six secondary schools are taking part in a two-day 'Sixth Form Leadership Forum' to discuss how they will establish the ESF-wide council.

The forum, which began yesterday and concludes this afternoon at the ESF's education development centre at West Island School, is the brainchild of Island School former head boy, Michael Lok Hui-yin, 18.

'It's been suggested by many parents, teachers and students that there should be some sort of network to link up ESF secondary schools,' he said.

The Year 13 student said it was important that the students got together to determine how the council would be established.

The first day of the forum was devoted to discussing the idea of giving students a voice and student leadership.

Today students are expected to discuss the structure of the council and how students will be elected. Students will vote on how the council should be structured.

'Personally I think it doesn't really matter how it's structured as long as it's an agreed structure,' Mr Lok said, adding that the ESF supported the plan. He said students hoped to have the council established by the beginning of the next school year.

This would be the first time students would have a voice to communicate directly with the ESF's management, and the students would like to have regular meetings with management.

The foundation's secondary adviser, Chris Durbin, said establishing a council would give the students greater influence in their schools.

'Without influence they can shout from the rooftops but never be heard,' he said.

Mr Lok believes the council will address a range of issues important to students' lives.

'One problem with students talking about issues is usually they focus on minor issues like toilets and tuckshop food. I believe that those should be talked about but I believe student voice should extend to things like teaching and learning and how students wish to be taught,' he said.

He said 'student voice' should not just be considered an activity.

'I think student voice should be incorporated into the general ethos of a school. A school should encourage students to have a say in things that happen in and around the school.'

During the forum the students, aged 16 to 18, will hear from guest speakers, including ESF chief executive Heather Du Quesnay.