‘Circles’ is Larkrise’s way of gathering student voice. It plays the role at Larkrise that ‘School Forum’ or a Student Council play at other schools.
Each Wednesday all children from years 1 to 6 get together in one of thirteen groups right across the school. Each group, or ‘Circle’ has children from every year group. Our year sixes pick up the year ones from their classrooms and carefully see them to their circle and back again.
Whilst at their Circle the children play a quick game to promote good relationships and then discuss a question set centrally so that all circles are dealing with the same topic. One week they might be discussing how to reduce litter on the school grounds, the next they might be talking about what playground equipment they would like to make playtimes more fun, another week it could be how to make the Summer Fayre more fun, or how to reduce bullying.
Each circle will choose one child to feed back their ideas and that child will attend a ‘Round Up Circle’ a little later to bring together the opinions and ideas of the whole school body. Decisions and recommendations are made and put to the school’s leadership team. Circles has had significant impact on the running of the school over the last four years from helping to set priorities for school development through the ‘Dream School’ project, to feeding into the process of selecting our headteacher, to work to support children on the playground. One of our favourite pieces of evidence is the mural in the hall which was designed, commissioned, reviewed and finalised by the children
At the time of writing Circles is in its fourth year and our current Year Sixes are drawing on three years of experience to run their circles with confidence and warmth – this is a lovely thing to see. Circles gives the children a chance to work together right across the year groups and has allowed cohorts of year sixes to develop leadership skills and confidence in speaking to groups which see them in good stead as they move forward to secondary.