Holly Lodge Science College has been awarded Sandwell Council’s Democracy Award in recognition of their participation in the SHAPE programme.
Students from Holly Lodge took part in a variety of activities organised by Sandwell’s SHAPE Team during 2016. Many of the students completed surveys, attended the SHAPE conference as well as taking over roles at the council during the ‘National Takeover Challenge’.
Holly Lodge completed the most number of survey returns, students actively engaged at the Youth Conference in December 2016 and in Youth Takeover Challenges with the Council’s Cabinet and Children’s Safeguarding Board as well as 2 members regularly attending the Shape Youth Forum.
The SHAPE programme is designed to give young people a chance to influence what the council and partners can do for them. Sandwell Council first introduced the programme in 2014 and this is the first time the democracy award has been given.
Councillor Simon Hackett, cabinet member for children’s services said: “Congratulations to students and staff at Holly Lodge for getting the SHAPE Democracy Award.
“The school and students really have led by example and been involved in all aspects of the SHAPE Programme.
“I hope the students who have been involved have enjoyed their experience and gained a lot from the programme. The feedback they have given us has been very valuable in shaping how we can improve services for young people.
Paul Shone, headteacher at Holly Lodge College of Science said: “We are extremely proud of our development and quality of student voice across the school We have a culture of student involvement that highlights the key principles of democracy and its processes.
“Our students have been involved in influencing developments at the school. Last year students worked with our catering company to consider the food offering at lunchtimes, they were instrumental in shaping our thoughts on changes to lunchtimes (splitting the lunch to improve safety), and were integral in developing changes to the school’s marking policies.
“This year they have had an input on the school’s behaviour policy, the introduction of growth mindset work and the introduction of ‘Holly Lodge Adventure’, a scheme to enable outdoor activities for all increasing student independence.
“In addition the whole school held an EU Referendum and a mock General Election which clearly raised awareness of both local and national issues and the democratic process but has also developed a tangible ‘buy in’ to our school community and ethos.”