Students have a voice
Natspec colleges make sure that students are a part of the decision making process, and that their views are taken into account when planning programmes, activities and provision.
Every Natspec college has a student union or council, or runs other student voice activities to ensure that young people are part of decision making at college. Some of the methods that colleges use include:
- Students elect representatives for their Student’s Union / Council. Elected from different parts of the college, they speak on behalf of their peers. Students’ Unions and Councils can be linked to the formal governance of the college. There may be a student representative on the Board of Governors.
- Some colleges support students to attend national events and conferences. Events like Natspec’s Student Voice Parliament provide an opportunity for students to speak and present their ideas. Additionally, students may have the opportunity to speak at events run by organisations such as the National Union of Students (NUS).
- Regular student forums on different topics, involving the whole college.
- Students writing and designing their own newsletters.
- Some colleges have facilities for students to record their own video diary. Sometimes, this will be on a specific prompt – for example, on topics like “when is a lesson good”
- Students get involved with their local authority and wider democracy. They may meet their local councillors. Some may sit on local Equality Panels to offer their input. Engaging in local and national elections can also be a valuable way of making their voice heard.
National Student Voice Parliament
Natspec launched the National Student Voice Parliament in 2017. It provides an opportunity for students across our colleges to gather and discuss issues of real importance to them. The Parliament meets twice a year across the UK.
SEND Learner Voice Research Report 2018
Natspec has published a new research report in to Learner Voice.
Student Voice Toolkit
Natspec has published a Toolkit to support practitioners in developing the voice of learners in their colleges.
Supporting learners to advocate for themselves and for their peers, contributes to the development of a range of abilities including social and communication skills, understanding of citizenship, problem solving and team working. It also has a positive impact on self-esteem and helps to raise aspirations. Many colleges have identified a staff member to serve as a Learner Voice Practitioner (LVP) who has a lead responsibility for developing and implementing dedicated learner voice related activities within education programmes and across wider college experiences.
Drawing on the work of Learner Voice Practitioners from Natspec colleges Enhancing the Learner Voice lays out three key principles for those at the start of their journey in extending the reach and influence of their learner voice activities. They are that all learners should be included, that the activities should have a clear purpose and learners should be able to see the result of their voices being heard.
The toolkit includes a best practice checklist to help guide your planning.
We want to build on these resources and so if you think you can contribute and / or are interested in joining our Learner Voice Practitioner Network contact Andrew.Evans@natspec.org.uk