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04 Evaluating Your School

Activity Guide Council
School Councils UK
What is evaluation? Ask each council member to
The dictionary defines ‘evaluation’ as; complete a questionnaire (see
appendix 1 for a sample), or help the
“Judging or calculating the quality, Chair and Vice-chair to design one of
importance, amount or value of your own. The aim of the
something.” questionnaire should be to help the
However, for evaluating your school team think about what they are doing
council you should have less of a well and what they could be doing
focus on the judging part and more better. The questionnaire can be
focus on assessing how well things answered anonymously if it is felt that
are going and deciding what needs to the pupils will be able to be more
be done to improve it. open.
The two questions you should be Even if the results come back with
seeking to answer are almost all positive responses that
does not necessarily mean that the
• How effective is the school council doesn’t need to improve. This
council? is just the view of the councillors. The
• What can be done to make it
rest of the school might think
2). School wide evaluation
Why bother with evaluation? It is a good idea to form a sub-
Quite simply, if you don’t evaluate all committee from the school council to
aspects of the school council you take responsibility for this.
won’t know how effective it is being.
Design a easy to answer, 1-page
You, and probably many others, have questionnaire, which will ask all
put a lot of hard work and time into members of the school, that’s pupils,
your school council; if you want to see teachers, senior management and
it develop and flourish you will need to non-teaching staff, to let you know
find out what is working well and what what they think about the school
needs to be improved upon. council, (see appendix 2 for an
example). You will of course have to
How do we evaluate our school adapt it to be more appropriate to
council? your school council and its work
As you might expect it is vital that the
evaluation is a pupil-led project. Try and get teachers to agree to a 5 –
10 minute session in each class,
What you might like to do is carry out facilitated by the class
a small assessment amongst the representatives, this way you can be
school council and decide if further sure of getting lots filled in and
evaluation of any particular area is returned.
When developing your own
Although it is also very important to questionnaire for both the internal and
observe the work of the school school-wide evaluation you will need
council and to talk to everyone about to think about which categories to
how they feel it is going, this kind of include, you may also feel that you
School Councils UK assessment will prove very difficult to need separate questionnaires for staff
calculate. Simple questionnaires are a and pupils. Areas that you might
108-110 Camden High Street,
very effective way of getting a clear want your questions to cover include:
London NW1 0LU
0845 456 9428 and concise response from all members of the school. • School council image and profile The process can be broken down into • Achievements of the school council
two stages:
• Election process
1). Internal Evaluation • Representation of pupils
How does the school council itself
think it is doing? • Meeting needs of pupils

© School Councils UK 2005. Please feel free to reproduce this resource with acknowledgement (non-commercial use only)
• Relationship between school
Break down the scores into
Activity Guide
School Councils UK
categories, e.g. 0 – 300 (need to
council and adults (i.e. teachers,
improve), 301 – 600 (good, but might
senior managers, parents,
need some thought), 601 – 900
governors and non-teaching staff)
(excellent work, keep it up)
• Feedback of council activities to
pupils Produce a document with all the
results and any other comments that
• Involvement of all pupils in council people have made about each area of
activities work.

Remember: Once you have done this you will be
able to see at a glance which areas
i). Keep the form simple and fun, with
need improving and which areas of
tick boxes or similar
work the school council is doing very
ii). Provide space for further well.
comments, but keep free text areas to
a minimum Now what?
Now it’s time for the school council to
iii). Provide a set time for filling in the assess the results and have a meeting
forms specifically for addressing any issues
iv). Make sure they are all returned that have been raised during the
school-wide evaluation.
Or Maybe…:
The chair should lead the meeting,
Ask each form group to answer one
going through each point, praising
or two questions each, this way you
when necessary and discussing how
get a general idea of how things are
to improve upon each area that
going but you’re not asking everyone
should have scored better. You might
to fill in a long and time consuming
find a number of temporary sub-
form. See appendix 3 for an example
committees being formed to deal with
of how one of these might look.
each area of work.
Now what do I do with all the It is crucial that the school council is
information? not made to feel attacked or
So now you have all your vulnerable by the feedback.
questionnaires back, you need to Remember they asked for opinions
collate the answers into a manageable with the aim of finding out what they
way to read them. There are a can improve upon. The link teacher
number of ways to do this, but below and the chair need to continually re-
is one of the simplest. assure and praise the councillors for
the good work that they have carried
For each question attribute a score to out.
each answer, e.g. A = 1, B =2, C = 3,
(3 being the best). You can then add You should publicise your findings
up how many points you got for each throughout the school, on notice
and what the maximum score, (if boards, newsletters and websites,
everyone gave you a 3), would be. along with any changes that you
promise to make.
e.g. The first question was answered
by 300 pupils, and the highest This kind of evaluation should be
School Councils UK possible score they could give was 3, carried out regularly in order that the
108-110 Camden High Street, then your maximum possible score for school council is continually aware of
London NW1 0LU question 1 is 300 x 3 = 900. If you their progress and achievements,
0845 456 9428 scored 250, you might think this is an whilst ensuring they are meeting the area that the council needs to work needs of the pupils. on. If however you got 750, well that
is pretty good score and the council
should be proud of itself.

© School Councils UK 2005. Please feel free to reproduce this resource with acknowledgement (non-commercial use only)
School Councils UK Training

School Council Self-Evaluation

The School Council
ƒ The school council meets regularly and frequently enough Agree strongly Agree Disagree
to be effective.
ƒ The council is clear about the issues it can deal with. Agree strongly Agree Disagree
ƒ Council members respect and listen to each other. Agree strongly Agree Disagree
ƒ Our school council image in the school is very positive. Agree strongly Agree Disagree

School Council Activities
ƒ The activities of the school council matter to the rest Agree strongly Agree Disagree.
of the students and teachers
ƒ The school council often organises successful projects Agree strongly Agree Disagree
and activities.
ƒ The school council has enough money to do what it wants. Agree strongly Agree Disagree

Class Representatives
ƒ Class representatives are democratically elected. Agree strongly Agree Disagree
ƒ Class representatives have been trained in school Agree strongly Agree Disagree
council skills
ƒ The is good communication between council members and Agree strongly Agree Disagree

Relationship between the school council and the staff
ƒ The staff and the headteacher support the council’s regular Agree strongly Agree Disagree
ƒ The councils has a supportive and effective link teacher. Agree strongly Agree Disagree
ƒ The school council can always talk to the headteacher or Agree strongly Agree Disagree

If you get any questions that have a lot of ‘Disagrees’ or even ‘Agrees’ you might want to
think about how the school council can turn them into an ‘Agree strongly’ for the next time
you self-evaluate.

School Councils UK, 3rd Floor 108-110 Camden High Street, London NW1 0LU
Tel 0845 456 9428 Fax 0845 456 9429 Email Web
School Councils UK Training

School Council Questionnaire Year Group of Pupil

Part 1: What do you know about the school council? (Circle answers)
1. Did you know that there is a school council at this school? No Yes
2. Do you know what the school council is for? No Sort of Yes
3. Do you know the names of your class/form representatives? No Sort of Yes
4. Do you know how you could make a suggestion to the school council? No Sort of Yes

Part 2: How effective is our school council?
5. Do you feel well informed about what the school council is doing? No Sort of Yes
6. Do you think the school council listens to other pupils? No Sort of Yes
7. Do you think the school council is helping to make the school better? No Sort of Yes

Part 3: What should our school council be doing?
The following are things that our school council are committed to doing. Please give each one a mark of between 1 and 3
depending on how well you think they are doing; 1 = Poor, 2 = OK, 3 = Excellent
a) Improve communication between pupils and teachers 1 2 3
b) Improve facilities outside school for young people (e.g. transport, leisure) 1 2 3
c) Improve school discipline and behaviour 1 2 3
d) Improve school facilities e.g. playground 1 2 3
e) Improve choice and value of school food 1 2 3
f) Improve teaching and lessons 1 2 3
g) Manage services for students (e.g. tuck shop) 1 2 3
h) Organise extra-curricular activities (sport, discos, etc.) 1 2 3
i) Raise awareness of social issues (e.g. racism, drugs, environment) 1 2 3
j) Fund raise money for charities and the schools 1 2 3

Part 4: How can the school council improve?
We want pupils to find out about what the school council is doing. Please give each of the following ideas a mark of
between 1 and 3, 1 = bad idea, 2 = OK idea, 3 = very good idea
a) Weekly class meetings for all pupils to discuss issues 1 2 3
b) Announcements in assembly about the school council 1 2 3
c) School Council newsletter 1 2 3
d) School Council Website and email updates 1 2 3
e) Noticeboard with news about the school council 1 2 3

Part 5: Any other comments?
Is there anything you would like to say about the school council or the school in general? Your comments will be
anonymous (continue on reverse)

Thank you very much for your time!

School Councils UK, 3rd Floor 108-110 Camden High Street, London NW1 0LU
Tel 0845 456 9428 Fax 0845 456 9429 Email Web
School Councils UK Training

Example of a single issue Questionnaire

1 Elections are held across the whole school

2 Form elections are free and fair

3 Everyone gets a vote

4 Ballots are secret

5 Anyone can stand for School Council

6 Councillors are elected because they will do a good job

7 I vote for the person I think will be best for the job
(not just for friends)

8 The elections are taken seriously by the whole school

9 Everyone in school is aware when elections are taking

10 Information and publicity about the elections are clearly
displayed around the school for everyone to see

11 Staff do not try to influence how I vote

12 I can vote for who I want

School Councils UK, 3rd Floor 108-110 Camden High Street, London NW1 0LU
Tel 0845 456 9428 Fax 0845 456 9429 Email Web