democratic journeys

 

How’s your school council these days? Are they working as a team together? Do they understand how communication channels work in school, who makes decisions, and how they can make a positive contribution to their school?

 

"A really special opportunity: a once-in-a-school-secondary-life-chance-

kind-of-thing". Cameron, aged 12.

 

We are offering a special short-term support package to help create cohesion and greater collaboration between your school or college council and the rest of the learning community.

 

100% students who have taken part in a Democratic Journey with us in the past 6 months say they have learned and benefited from the sessions, citing increased confidence in communicating, stronger relationships, a greater sense of belonging and clarity about the ways they can influence decision-making.

 

90% of students we’ve interviewed say they don’t know if they have a school council or what it does. 

 

We can provide free workshops for up to 30 students, fostering greater collaboration and teamwork. Introducing the values and mechanisms of democratic education, our highly skilled facilitators support students in 'deep listening', mutually respectful modes of cooperation, working together to develop a shared understanding of the processes and barriers of communication systems, empathically reflecting on the perspectives of teachers, parents, governors and peers, culminating in student-led campaigns addressing issues identified by all the school's stakeholders. 

 

 
 
 
Who is the training for, and what do they get out of it?

The workshops happen with a group of up to 30 students (typically the school council) whose projects have a beneficial impact on the whole school. The workshops are inspiring for students, who tell us that it "feels real... learning that is so relevant to our daily lives"

 

“I’ve learned the difference between complaining and campaigning”

 

  

Staff have been "shocked" to see how self-directed and enthusiastic students are when participating in our workshops. One lead teacher simply said: "I love it, I love it, I love it. I love it!", and a Vice Principal described the last session as “a combination of parliamentary debate and the Oprah show, as representatives summarised their campaigns for school improvement”.

 

“It’s made me open up more and express my feelings”


 

 

 

It doesn’t have to be with the school council, and mixed-age groups work especially well, so if you have a group of students in mind who you feel could really benefit, you can encourage them to take part. You could also simply put up one of our posters and see who turns up!

 

“This will make a difference to the rest of our lives”

 

 

 

What commitment is required from a school?

All we need from you is a commitment to developing participatory processes at your school, a desire to enable students to develop their communication skills and increase their engagement in their education experience. On a practical level, we also need you to identify or recruit students, find three days for them to be off-timetable, and organise rooms for sessions. 

 

The programme is tailored to the specific needs of each school, but a basic format is:

  • An initial consultation with senior leaders and agreement of the terms.
  • A link to a survey called Questions for Change, which collects and analyses responses from the whole school community about the issues which matter most to them.
  • Timetabling of three whole days of training for up to 30 students and up to two nominated staff members (usually scheduled across 3 - 6 months). 
  • Day one is focussed on Confidence in Communication.
  • Day two is focussed on Creating Campaigns
  • Day three is focussed on Peer Leadership and next steps.
  • In addition, we offer optional extras including CPD for staff or governors, in response to assessed need.

 

We provide all letter templates, consent forms, briefings for staff, materials and resources, the time of two highly skilled facilitators, comprehensive evaluation by our external research partners and ongoing support and input throughout the programme. 

 

In Spring 2018, we will invite you to a celebration event in London, to share experiences of your Democratic Journey with other participating schools. 

 

How much does the Programme Cost?


Nothing! The Democratic Journeys programme is a comprehensive package comprised of sessions and services with a combined cost of £3500, but we are delighted to be able to offer this for free to ten schools, thanks to generous funding from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation.

 

 

 

If you think your school may be interested, please email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.