I wonder how many people of my generation remember their school days as teachers standing at the front of a classroom demanding silence before launching into a monologue lasting for the majority of the teaching period and then setting an exercise as homework. I certainly do and vividly recall classrooms as being places of silence, where students sat in serried ranks scarcely interacting with the teacher and certainly not speaking to each other.
Thankfully times have changed and one of the things I enjoy most is wandering around school during lesson time. There is noise coming from the classrooms, a healthy buzz of activity and conversation, where teachers and students work together to share learning in an environment that is safe to challenge as well as support the thinking of others.
Student voice has become an increasingly key part of school life and develops the skills and confidence in our young people to express their views in an informed, engaged and inclusive manner where listening to others is as important as promoting one’s own point of view. I am delighted, therefore, that we are holding the inaugural Annual Sidcot Debate, which is a student-led initiative whose mission statement is ‘To offer a rousing evening, where the questions of the audience and the talents of the contestants, ignite the spark of a great evening’. I am very much looking forward to attending the debate, which starts at 6.00pm and takes place in the Meeting House, and am sure that the topical motions will provide an excellent opportunity for the Sidcot student voice to be heard.
IWK – March 2016