The Practice - Promoting involvement in institutional development Introduction
In seeking to draw together the variety of strategies for involving pupils that have an impact on institutional development we are proposing a model best described as a continuum of participation. At the low end of participation, pupils’ perceptions and opinions are gathered as evidence on which to base decisions about school development. Moving along the continuum there are more interactive methods of consulting with pupils about the need for, or content of, change. Towards the end of high-level participation there are strategies that give pupils a voice in decision making processes. Conceptualised in this way, increasing levels of involvement are also expected to lead to greater empowerment of pupils. Clearly, when teachers not
only consult with pupils but also engage them in making decisions there has been a considerable shift in the balance of power between teacher and learner. This is unlikely to be a sudden or necessarily intentional change but, as the schools described below have found, moving along the continuum becomes a natural process once a culture of listening to pupils has become embedded in the life of a school.