A Student Council is a representative structure through which students in a post-primary school can become involved in the affairs of the school, working in partnership with school management and staff and parents for the benefit of the school and its students (Department of Education & Science, 2002)
Key functions of Student Councils
The functions and activities of a Student Council should support the aims and objectives of the Council and promote the development of the school and the welfare of its students. In planning and undertaking activities during the course of the school year, the Council should:
- work closely with school management, teachers and parents,
- consult regularly with students in the school, and
- involve as many students as possible in the activities of the Council.
There is a wide range of activities of benefit to the school community which a Student Council may wish to undertake, some of which are outlined below:
Representing the views of the student body to the school management This should be one of the fundamental aims of every Council. It involves talking and listening to the student body, considering their views and concerns, and discussing these with the school management on behalf of the students.
Promoting good communication within the school
Improving communication within the school community is a shared responsibility and a Student Council can contribute to this process. Making presentations at staff meetings to keep staff informed of activities, keeping a Student Council notice-board or organising a regular newsletter are just some ways the Council can communicate with the students, school management and staff, and parents.
Supporting the educational development and progress of students
A Student Council can contribute to the learning environment for students in the school by, for example, setting up study groups for students in exam classes or homework clubs, or organising lunchtime activities such as language clubs. Assisting with induction and/or mentoring for new first year students Starting secondary school is a challenging new experience for 1st Year students. A mentoring programme where senior students help new students to find their feet can help their integration into the school community.
Contributing to the development of school policy
The Student Council can actively contribute to the development of school policy in a wide range of areas such as bullying, uniform requirements, behaviour code and extra-curricular activities. The Council could form sub-committees to consider individual policy issues, to consult with students, staff and parents on those issues and to represent the Council’s views on those issues to school management.
Assisting in school sporting and cultural activities
Student Councils can assist in organising and developing sports and cultural activities within the school, including, for example, sports days and drama or musical events. Assisting with or organising fund-raising events for charity Student Councils can organise events both within the school and involving the wider community, for the purposes of raising money for designated charities.
Liaising with Student Councils in other schools
It may be useful for a Student Council to liase with Student Councils in other schools, particularly in the organisation of sporting and cultural activities and when fund-raising for charity. An existing Student Council could have a useful role in helping and advising a newly formed Student Council in another
The Student Council in Our Lady’s School was established in 2014. It plays a central role in school life & aims to empower students giving them a voice.
Throughout September a presentation is made to each year group about the Student Council by Ms.Molloy, the Student Council Liasion teacher. The presentation includes the importance of the Council, benefits of getting involved, how it operates , nomination & election procedures.
Nomination Day takes place in early October where every class nominate 2 students from their class group to go forward for Election. Students can also put themselves forward.
The Student Council Election is held mid-October where all candidates going forward give a 1 minute speech to their year outlining the reasons why they want to join the Council. When all the speeches have concluded the voting commences. The students in each year with the top votes will be representatives for the year.
The following are the representatives for 2018/2019
1st Year: Rachel Byrne P1 and Rachel Vaughan L1
2nd Year: Anika Jatar C2 and Sarah Warfield Byrne P2
3rd Year: Roisin O Neill C3 and Emily Aasen P3
4th Year: Laura Donovan L4 and Hannah O Brien C4
5th Year: Yollie Corr C5 and Laura Burke B5
6th Year: Oonagh Duke L6 and Amy Dodrill M6
At the first meeting the representatives are given their badges to wear. The procedures for the year are outlined & contracts are signed. As students are from various year groups and may not know one another, some games help students get to know one another and break the ice! The various duties of Officers are outlined & discussed. After some reflection representatives agree on who is most suited to each job.
Throughout the year the Chair & Deputy Chair meet with management to discuss various issues including; school rules,proposals for new ideas and improvements to existing sanctions and procedures. They also liase with other committees in the school, e.g Green Committee. Over the past number of years the Student Council have been making improvements in the following areas: School rules and policies, Canteen, Foothpaths, Lunch rooms, Lockers, Bathrooms and Environmental issues such as Litter & Recycling. They also create awareness among the student population about important matters related to wellbeing, voting rights and health and safety concerns in the school building. They deal with all other matters arising that affect students.
For more information go to the Student Council noticeboard in the GPA or see Ms. Kerin if you have any queries.