By Tyler May
28 August, 2019
Last month, OAT celebrated the launch of its new National Student Voice Council. The Council, which is made up of pupils from across the national network, will represent and act on behalf of OAT’s thousands of students.
Tyler May, the Council’s newly elected chair and a pupil at Ormiston Rivers Academy in Burnham on Crouch, gives a run-down of the two-day residential meeting and introduces what lies in store after its members bonded, collaborated and elected its new roles for the upcoming year.
My name is Tyler May and I feel so honoured to be the chair of the first ever National Student Voice Council. We are made up of nine pupils all around the country and we represent and act on behalf of the 29,000 OAT students. This council is founded by Ormiston Academies Trust and we are currently celebrating the success of our very first meeting.
As a way of getting to know each other but also be productive, we attended a meeting in the form of a two-day residential trip in Birmingham. It was not hard to all become friends as we are all like-minded people who want to be there and want to make a difference. We bonded over some ice-breaker games in order to get thinking about how to work effectively as a team. We even got to do an escape room which helped us to think about who would be suitable for each leadership role.
On Sunday, after a delicious Pizza Hut dinner, we voted for the different roles. Here were the results:
After this, I led the discussion on what we were going to do as our main project. We each shared what we thought should be our national project and what would benefit the most young people. After hearing everyone’s ideas, we soon realised that they all linked together. Because of this we chose the mission of eradicating stigma from OAT’s schools to drive change and encourage acceptance across the Trust.
We are now going to be emailing some mental health charities to get some advice on what makes a good safe space in a school. We are then going to encourage schools to have one of these places in order to help students who are being bullied, need some advice or simply need somewhere to clear their mind.
Something else that we are keen to do is get the other candidates that went for the council involved in our project.
We also had the opportunity to take part in a session led by OAT’S National Director of Strategy and Quality Improvement, Amelia Walker, which was all about influence.
Exciting things now lie ahead for us. We are preparing for the regional meeting in the autumn term and contributing to OAT’s Annual Conference in November.
The National Student Voice Council will support the #iwill campaign that is taking place across all of our academies. The National Lottery Community Fund and the Department of Culture, Media & Sport are each investing £20 million seed funding to create the #iwill Fund. Ormiston Trust (OAT’s founding organisation) is acting as a match funder and awarding grants on behalf of the #iwill Fund.