Our Participation Support Programme (PSP) for schools works to embed a culture of young people’s involvement across the whole school community by supporting school leadership to engage with children and young people and encourage them to participate in decision making that affects them.
Recommended by the Department of Education, PSP has so far been delivered to more than 200 teachers in 23 schools. It uses a whole school or holistic approach to embed participation in school culture and ethos.
Training and skills development with the senior management team, teachers and pupils complements structural participation, for example school councils, for a wider reach.
The impact of PSP
Participating schools have reported changes in attitude, thinking, relationships and problem solving. Specifically, they’ve seen improvements in school life including:
- A better understanding of the meaning of pupil participation, why it’s important, what effective participation involves and the benefits it can bring to the school environment.
- Improved channels of communication between staff and pupils.
- Increased pupil involvement in the development and review of school policies and priorities for change.
- The development of 'participation working groups' and identification of 'participation champions'.
How schools can get involved
We work with primary and post-primary schools on an invitational basis but schools interested can make an application for support.
Each PSP delivery is tailored to the needs and circumstances of each individual school.
The PSP process
- Participating schools receive an initial visit to set out manageable timeframes for PSP work including staff and pupil workshops, assessment of current levels and areas of participation in the school, action planning and review.
- Training and skills development workshops for both pupils and staff focus on the 'what, why and how' of participation and are accompanied by a toolkit of resources for developing policy and practice.
- We support schools to develop a PSP action plan, informed by the outcome of these workshops and by questionnaires conducted by pupils with the support of staff.
- All actions are planned, delivered, assessed and reviewed.
For more information, contact our PSP lead Gill Hassard, Senior Participation Officer via 028 9087 5006 or firstname.lastname@example.org.