WHY DO WE HAVE A SCHOOL PARLIAMENT?
Our parliamentary system began at the beginning of the 2018 school year. Since then, we have worked collaboratively with Ms McCombe and the rest of the student body to ensure a safe and welcoming environment for everyone. The School Parliament was established in order to empower the young people in our school and have their voice heard as a way to advocate for a change that they want. What is special about our parliament is that we work collaboratively, without any strong power dynamics to ensure everyone is heard, and feels equal.
How We Work as a Democratic System:
Our parliamentary body consists of two elected MPs from each form class. The government is then elected in a school wide election where the political parties write manifestos and campaign to convince the student body that they are the right party to govern and lead Parliament. The leader of the winning party becomes the School Prime Minister and selects a cabinet to support them in fulfilling their manifesto. The cabinet’s ideas are then brought to Dr McGowan, our fabulous Headmistress.
In order to hold the cabinet to account, we hold Prime Minister’s questions throughout the year where MPs can bring forward their concerns with actions or inactions about the work of the cabinet.
What have we achieved?
During our last four years we have been able to bring many visions that we had forward in order to improve our school life, working collaboratively with senior members of staff in order to try and bring these ideas into our day to day school life. Some of the accomplishments we have achieved have included:
a change in the uniform policy - students are now given the choice to wear trousers instead of skirts
A change in the mobile phone policy - students are now able to bring their phone to school, under the agreement that they stay in their bag for the whole day in order to feel safer travelling to and from school
Adjustment to school policies - this involved scrutinising existing policies in order to guard against institutionally racist policies on hair and behaviour
Termly reward trips for every year group
Parliament has had many other accomplishments within our time running and even though some may be small and not as noticeable, each and every one of our additions in which we have implemented, has helped in improving and developing the school as well as the overall student life within St Claudine's.
What we stand for, and strive to be:
We, as a parliament, envision the school to be a place of inclusivity no matter race, gender, sexuality, religion, ethnic backgrounds or ability. We strive for our school to be a safe place where students are encouraged to learn, supported when they fail and leave knowing that the sky is the limit. We want students to be filled with a sense of pride when they walk into our gates and find great joy knowing that they are a part of our school community from the day that they join us. However we still have a far way to go, as no institution is perfect, Parliament exists to be the vehicle to aid St Claudine’s in being the best that we can be. This is only possible if all student voices are included in Parliament whether they are in it or not. We want to be an emblem of hope and solidarity as we know in the real world we do not all have an equal footing in life.
Our most prominent goal is to become an anti racist school, and even though this milestone hasn’t been reached we are endlessly working towards it. Considering our publicity on the BBC news in January 2019, we strive to inspire other young people, and other schools to empower their fellow students, and give them the confidence to vocalise their opinions in an environment that is meant to be classified as their second home.