Listening to young people
At Bassaleg School we offer a wide range of opportunities for our learners to take on leadership roles and to develop their leadership skills. Many of these opportunities are offered through our Listening to Young People agenda with active councils who meet regularly to engage in discussion on a wide range of topics including pupil wellbeing, mental health, teaching & learning, the curriculum & behaviour for learning.
As well as developing essential leadership skills for those who sit on our councils we engage our whole school community in a comprehensive election process to elect our School Council members.
This involves candidates creating short campaign videos that outline their strengths & intentions should they be elected. Every member of the school community is then given the opportunity to pose questions to the candidates in a ‘question time’ style to support pupils in making their decision on how to use their vote.
This has allowed every pupil at Bassaleg to experience an election in preparation for real-life elections. In May 2021, when 16 year olds were allowed to vote for the first time in the Welsh Assembly Election, form groups experienced sessions which educated them on the organisation of the Welsh Assembly, how the election works and who their own candidates were. Through this work we are striving to develop ethically informed citizens who are socially aware and can contribute to society.
How can you get involved?
Members of each year group who sit on their Year Council meet once a month to discuss arising issues in the school, put ideas and solutions forward to SLT and are involved in key decisions that are made for our community. They also meet with people like politicians and researchers to contribute their ideas to policies made within our city and country.
Our main priority is to make our school as Eco friendly as possible - we have been recognised as a Platinum School (highest award) by Eco Schools Wales for our efforts with this and won many competitions. We have been working on tackling the litter problem in school through litter surveys, messages through assemblies, identifying the impact litter has on our wildlife through placing cameras in school, investing in new litter picking equipment and encouraging litter picking in form time, during break and lunch. We are currently working on an exciting project to have our say about the ‘eco-ness’ of our new building which will be net carbon zero. We encourage recycling and have set up battery recycling boxes around the school and changed the schools recycling system to make it more effective. Join the race to make our school a more Eco friendly place!
Reading Buddies has been designed for Sixth Formers to provide excellent support to pupils at KS3 that have a barrier to reading. Sixth Formers are paired with a KS3 pupil and are responsible for encouraging reading for enjoyment as well as helping our young learners to become more confident readers.
This group of young people has received specialist training from our partners at Newport MIND in order to plan and deliver support and intervention to some of our young people who might be struggling socially and emotionally. Not only can they offer a unique perspective from their own experience and training but can also act as advocates for some of our fabulous young people who may lack the confidence, at times, to speak for themselves.
Each AOLE (Area of Learning & Experience) has an active AOLE Council whose primary role is to evaluate the classroom experiences that the New Curriculum for Wales has enabled. Pupils give their opinions & ideas on our themes of learning as well as teaching & learning experiences and help to shape the direction of our curriculum for the future.
Our year 7 learners are actively engaged in supporting year 6 pupils as they prepare to transition from Primary to Secondary education. They are committed to giving an honest and genuine sense of day to day life to year 6 pupils, delivering presentations, visiting primary schools and welcoming them to Bassaleg when they attend transition events during the summer term. The transition team also deliver presentations to parents & carers and are actively engaged in follow up Q&A sessions.
Head Student & Prefect Team
Year 12 and 13 students are appointed each year to be role models for the school community and undertake various roles and responsibilities while developing their leadership and communication skills in their interactions with our school community and feeder primary schools.
Each year group has a year council which has representatives from each form group. They meet to discuss year group specific issues which are then taken to their year group School Council members to be raised at School Council. Communication between Year Councils and School Council and vice versa is crucial to support these councils to bring about change to aspects of school life.
Behaviour for Learning Council
BFL believes all pupils have the right to learn without disruption, should feel safe in the school environment and be treated with respect and dignity. BLF assists with the planning and distribution of rewards and achievements across the school e.g. our rewards store. They play an active role in discussions about how to improve standards of behaviour in lessons and wider school. They also observe lessons through planned learning walks to identify behaviour hot spots and communicate important BFL messages to year and school council. We promote positive relationships which demonstrate mutual respect and understanding, using achievements and rewards to motivate and promote good behaviour.
We have a constantly increasing group of identified Young Carers at Bassaleg. As well as endeavouring to support them and to raise awareness of the additional needs and understanding they may have as a result of their important role, we recognise that their unique voice is fundamental to decision-making at Bassaleg. As they progress through the school, they are able to support our newer young-carers with compassion and understanding.
The School Sports Council aims to develop an understanding of our learners’ needs to provide quality sporting opportunities and experiences in Bassaleg School. Our representatives are responsible for relaying information, expressing opinions and creating initiatives to develop teaching and learning in PE, as well as the health and wellbeing of our learners through participation in sport.
QSA is our LGBT+ school community group which represents all young people to support them with any relevant issues and to raise awareness to increase understanding of diversity.
Mental Health, Happiness & Wellbeing
Mental Health Council:
The mental health council attempts to identify the main concerns that are facing our young people today and, in discussion, to provide genuine support strategies which are accessible to all.
Health & Happiness Council:
The Prefect Team organise monthly events to raise money and awareness for local and national charities important to our school while bringing the student body together in fun and exciting ways to build a sense of community, belonging & promote wellbeing.
The wellbeing council analyse the whole school wellbeing data to highlight areas of excellent practice and those that need to be improved. We then review and reflect the curriculum model to identify if any changes can be made. The wellbeing council will offer suggestions of improvement that will be mapped on the whole school curriculum plan, and this information will then be fed back to directors of standards. Curriculum areas can then be updated to ensure that wellbeing sits at the very core of everything we do in Bassaleg.
Lead Learners play a key role in developing learning across our curriculum. They are a voice for all learners on how learning experiences can be developed so that they are the best they can be for everyone. Lead learners help to shape learning experiences and are also responsible for modelling how to be a lead learner in all contexts.