The year started with some sad but thankful farewells to our Councillors from 2016-17. We received some lovely news in recognition of their great work when we learned in September that we had received a prestigious ‘Speaker’s School Council Award’ for all of the Council’s fantastic work last year. This was much deserved, and a hard act to follow.
Another brilliant bunch of DGS pupils have taken on the challenge of matching the same high quality projects and campaigns that our previous group of Councillors achieved. Many of you applied; I want to thank everyone for the high standard of applications and I would encourage you to re-apply next year.
So our new Councillors, although only in post only a few weeks, have already achieved a lot. They have been involved in the official count of the National Youth Parliament’s annual Make your Mark ballot, in which over a 1000 of you participated.
We have since submitted our school’s results to the Youth Parliament. The Youth Parliament will be deciding in November which issue to focus on and start their campaigns for, based on our votes, and others from across the country. It was a really close vote here at DGS, but the issue that received the most votes was making improvements to public transport.
From the vote, it was clear that so many of us are passionate about lots of different issues, so we are going to try to arrange for our local MP, Ed Vaizey to come into DGS and ask him to address some of these issues, and let us know what the government are going to do about them to improve the lives of young people like us in the UK. We will keep you updated on our progress with this.
Your councillors have also been involved in the return of the ever-popular Choices for Change vote. You may know that each year we provide pupils with a list of things that we think need changing in school that they can then vote on. The one that gets the most votes will then become one of our missions for the year to make sure is realised. Councillors have come up with the ideas and produce an entertaining video, based on which pupils have been voting in their hundreds. We will announce the results in our whole school assembly at the end of the term. The picture shows an extract from our video highlighting one of the issues, more lunch money machines.
The final project councillors have been working on in our busy term required all of us as a school community getting involved to help achieve. Most year groups, in a recent assembly, learnt about the growing necessity for food banks in our country and how dependent many families are on them. So, as School Councillors who believe that actions are equally, if not more important than words, had a think about what difference we could make to our local food bank.
We came up with the idea of the ‘Food for a Thousand’ challenge. We challenged the DGS community, between us, to bring in 1000 suitable foodbank items, that we will then pass onto Didcot Foodbank for local families in need. We will be so proud if we can achieve this.
As we sit and put this update together, the project is yet to happen, so we don’t yet know if we will reach our 1,000 items, but what we do know that we are going to have A LOT of items to pass onto our local foodbank and we will have made a difference to many in need.
Between us as a council we already have lots of exciting things we want to put in place over the year ahead and to improve the lives of pupils at DGS. Of course we are here to represent you so if you have any good suggestions that will lead to positive change in school in particular, then do let one of us know and we will discuss it in one of our weekly meetings. Alternatively you can email Mr George via email@example.com
One of our School Council projects this term has been supporting the United Nations Global Goals, which are also known as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), by making our school more sustainable.
There are seventeen sustainable development goals and we are focussing on ways of reducing our consumption of valuable resources so that we can protect our planet. We’ve all heard of global warming but many have stopped taking it seriously and are forgetting how much it effects us.
We are already seeing change happen ranging from famine in South Sudan to the courgette shortage in England. This is just the beginning; in ten years time it won’t be vegetables that we don’t have, it might be electricity, or water.
"Ours is the last generation which can head off the worst effects of climate change and the first generation with the wealth and knowledge to eradicate poverty. For this, fearless leadership from us all is needed..."
Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator for United Nations Development Programme
So what are the School Council doing? We are:
- asking the local council for more recycling bins
- asking the cafeteria staff to promote the use of washable items such as plates and metal cutlery instead of takeaway boxes and plastic forks
- asking the cafeteria to use bags of sugar instead of individual small sugar packets to reduce packaging
- creating posters to remind everyone how to be more sustainable and look after our planet
- running SDG Bingo in form time. On the Bingo sheet there are small actions that we can all take to reduce our use of important resources and help us all live sustainably
Here are things you can do!
- SDG Bingo!
- Reduce, reuse, recycle
- Don’t buy more bottled drinks when you can fill up a re-usable water bottle
- Bring in your own thermos that you can fill with coffee or tea
- Eat less meat, and go vegetarian – it’s much better for the environment!
An update on your Choices for Change winner – revamping the Cockcroft PE changing rooms.
We are delighted to say that we have joined forces with the Art Ambassadors and are making good progress on a design. After meeting with the PE staff we have decided to focus on one area initially, and that will be to put some murals on the walls above the hooks and possibly onto the ceiling. The design we’ve gone for is to represent the different sports we play here at DGS. We hope that this will bring a splash of colour to the changing rooms and one that you will like.
We are continuing to finalise the design and exact layout before starting work on it next term. If it all goes well then we might look to add even more changes to the Cockcroft PE area.
On the theme of change, some of us in the School Council this term have been looking at small, inexpensive improvements we can make to our own environment to make our time here that little bit more comfortable and to our own taste.
So, we are in the middle of trying to introduce three small changes at DGS. We recently held a really productive meeting with Mr Powell, the School’s Business Manager, in which he supported our three ideas which are:
- A mat to wipe our feet on when entering assemblies in Frids gym
- Hooks on all toilet doors in school to hang our bags or coats on
- Making sure the soap dispensers are regularly replenished with soap
We were really pleased with the outcome of this first meeting and will be doing our bit on your behalf to make these changes happen as soon as possible. Of course, don’t forget that if you have an idea for something you want to change in school, do tell us or Mr George - as long as it is a good idea we will try to make it happen!
Mr S George
School Council Lead
The Student Council identified that one of its main priorities was to reduce the queues at our cash loader units which are used for students to top up their accounts with cash for school meals. In order to help achieve this we want to appeal to all parents to pay for school meals by online payments rather than cash. Not only does this reduce the queues but it also minimises the need for students to carry cash and thus prevents the risk of loss.
It is very easy to pay money directly into your child’s account through our on-line payments system, ParentPay. It may be that you have forgotten your account username or password, in which case, we can help reset these. Alternatively you may not have yet registered to use the system at all in which case we can arrange setting up of your account, username and password.
In either case, just give the school a call on 01235 812092 and ask to speak to the administration office or email Miss Allsworth on firstname.lastname@example.org who will be pleased to help you.
Please do help our Student Council achieve its wish to get all our payments online and eliminate those queues!
Access to ParentPay is via:
Mr C. Powell
Director of Finance and Services