CSGS is an institution that takes great care in ensuring that students are heard throughout the school in order to continually improve the quality of life for pupils. During Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4, students elect a class “council”: two Form Captains, two Vice Form Captains, two Sports Captains and two Vice Sports Captains. These students help to organise events for their forms as well as teams to represent them; the role of the Form Captains is to act as a conduit to enable the students’ voices and opinions to be heard. Every term, the Form Captains are given questions to ask their forms and they take note of the answers. These are then brought to Pupil Voice meetings where they report and feedback to staff on the Senior Leadership Team. This allows them to have a say in how the school is organised and run whilst also giving the teachers and staff at the school a better understanding of the day-to-day routine from the perspectives of the students. These Pupil Voice panels are centred around a variety of topics that include: equality, diversity and inclusivity; discriminatory behaviour and how the school can better combat this; general quality of life in the school; and many more.
As we move into Key Stage 5, whilst Pupil Voice panels continue through two elected students in each form, at the end of Year 12, the students begin to show a little more leadership in how the school is run. Students can run for a variety of roles within the School Officer Team, which works in tandem with the staff on the Senior Leadership Team, to promote further understanding of the student body. The students in these roles represent the entire school and so, in this way, they speak for the student body and ensure that their wants and needs are expressed to the school.
Beyond the more official routes to raise their voices, students are also encouraged to go to extra-curricular clubs that surround various topics such as LGBTQ+ inclusivity, gender equality and racial diversity. Through these groups, students are able to voice their thoughts about how these situations could be improved around the school as well as being encouraged to discuss these topics in a broader, societal capacity. Students are also able to express and explore their opinions through clubs such as debate club, where pupils converse and argue about important topics that, not only impact their experience of school life, but also impact them as they move into the bigger and more adult world.
Finally, the most important way that the students can raise their voice is through our general staff body. The members of staff at the school are all keen and eager to hear what the students have to say within the school and are always available if students need someone to talk to about problems they are going through. We have trained Mental Health First Aiders – as well as Mental Health Ambassadors – that promote the importance of students talking about their concerns, anxieties and worries and work to ensure that these worries are heard.
It is through all of this that students are able to raise their voices and be heard throughout their time at Chislehurst and Sidcup Grammar School. It is our desire that both staff and students work together as a community to improve school life and make the experience of being a Chis & Sid student something that is safe, secure and positive.