At Western House, we believe that all students have a voice and have the right to be heard. Our Votes for Schools sessions allow students to be exposed to the everyday world around them through current topics, while being able to express their views, listen to other views and debate. These sessions instil the skills of being informed, being curious and being heard. These are skills that we believe our students should acquire for life.
We dedicate one hour, every Friday morning, to Votes for Schools. Each week is a new topic based on recent events in the news or around a specific event, for example anti-bullying week.
At the start of each week, we explore the topic in whole school assembly, share previous results and inform parents of the new topic and provide some discussion points for them to have with their children before the lesson on a Friday.
Each session begins by looking back at previous results, from across the nation, and then introducing them to the new topic. The new topic is posed as a question for the students to form an opinion on as they learn about the topic throughout the lesson. They learn about differing viewpoints and have opportunities to practise their listening, speaking, oracy and diplomacy skills. At the end of every session, each pupil votes for whether they agree or disagree with the topic question, and supply their reasoning too. Every session promotes democracy and participation.
Our Votes for Schools sessions link to SMSC, British Values and Prevent Curriculum criteria, as well as ensuring individual progression. Every session indicates the direct links to these.
Having Votes for Schools at Western House ensures our students are knowledgeable about the world around them. They develop their general knowledge, confidence, speaking and listening skills and learn what it means to live in a democratic society. Our students have learnt these lifelong skills and can apply these to other subjects in school and the world beyond. Our students leave Western House as curious, independent learners and are knowledgeable of the wider world where they are able to articulate their thoughts clearly and concisely.