Lewannick and Stratton Primary School pupils make their voices heard

By The Post in Local People

A NUMBER of primary schools from across the Post area have received prestigious Promoting Active Democracy Loudly (PADL) awards, following a special ceremony at County Hall in Truro recently.

The voices of pupils from 16 primary schools across Cornwall were ringing out at County Hall on Friday, June 23, when their school councils were presented with PADL awards. In the Post area, schools from Lewannick and Stratton were amongst those receiving awards.

The children were welcomed to County Hall by the chairman of Cornwall Council, Mary May, and vice chairman, Hilary Frank, who then presented the schools with their bronze, silver, gold and platinum awards for their work in encouraging effective student voice and leadership in schools.

The PADL project, which was set up by members of the Cornwall Youth Forum in 2001, provides a set of standards for primary school councils to guide and measure effective student voice, representation and leadership within their schools.

Lewannick Community Primary School received a gold award, whilst St Stephens Community Academy in Launceston received silver and Stratton Primary School, near Bude, was awarded bronze.

Donna Kilpin, the teacher at Lewannick School who is involved with the school council, said: “They’ve done a lot of work with the local foodbank in Launceston. Every Christmas they collect non perishable items and create little hampers and take them to the foodbank so people who are struggling can have a few treats.

“They were also instrumental in getting the air ambulance here, they wrote to them and got them to do a special assembly. They are really integral all year round in raising money, including for Comic Relief, Children in Need, and they have done ‘Wear it Pink Day’. Anything that comes along they organise the day around that.

“They run the day. That’s why they are the gold level really — they are at the point where they run things themselves.”

Lewannick School Council started around eight years ago and is made up of mainly Year 6 pupils, who are elected officers, and there are also two representatives per class.

There are elections every September, pupils produce manifestos and stand up in assembly to say what they think they will bring to the council.

Ms Kilpin added: “It’s a democratic process, and it’s a really important part of Lewannick.”

The school council achieved the platinum PADL award in 2013. This was not renewed and pupils have since been busy ‘going back to basics’ to work through the awards again. Ms Kilpin added: “Now they are already geared up to get platinum next year!”

Stratton Primary School’s school council has also made the list, as they received a bronze award at the recent prestigious awards ceremony.

Demelza Sayers, who leads Stratton’s school council, went along with five Year 5 and 6 pupils to the PADL awards ceremony June 23.

She said: “In order to receive the award, the school council had to prove they met certain criteria within the following categories: council procedures, council links within the school, council links beyond the school and council activities.”

Stratton’s school council is made up of two pupils from each class within the school, who meet every fortnight to discuss current school issues. Demelza added: “They really enjoy their role and feel they play an important part of school life.”

One Year 6 school councillor said he ‘feels honoured to be able to go back to his class and tell them what we’ve discussed in our meetings’. Another school councillor in Year 2 added: “I help to make the school a better place.”

Stratton has a Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 chairperson, who reads the council’s agenda. There is also a Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 secretary, who are responsible for taking the minutes and emailing them to staff at the end of each meeting.

At the awards ceremony last Friday, pupils put together a short presentation, explaining who they are and what they have been working towards over the last school year, including charity work and events, designs for playground equipment and features in the classroom to encourage pupils to come forward with suggestions on how to improve the school’s environment.

Council chairman, Ms May said: “We are delighted to be hosting this year’s award ceremony at County Hall. I am looking forward to meeting children and staff and celebrating the wonderful work of school councils in Cornwall.”

Vice chairman, Ms Frank, added: “These schools have done a great job in developing the confidence and skills of their pupils to become responsible citizens for the future.

“I would like to congratulate the teachers, the parents and carers and the young people themselves on their achievements.”

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