Forty-five students from the five schools operated by Aspirations Academies Trust in West London gathered at Rivers Academy on Tachbrook Road for their annual Student Voice conference.

Led by Director of Student Leadership and Engagement, Andy David, student leadership teams comprising pupils from Year 3 to Year 13 from Rivers Academy, Space Studio, Oak Hill Academy, Oriel Academy and Park Academy, shared ideas and participated in activities designed to encourage critical thinking around issues of concern to current students.

Presentations included a range of ideas, from Rivers Academy’s anti-bullying scheme where older students in Years 10 and 11 mentor younger pupils, to Oak Hill’s  ‘Power of Pupils Learning Walk’ initiative incorporating power skills.

“It’s great to see students across the age range working together on what matters to them,” commented Andy. “Our youngest pupils feel just as heard as our more experienced students.”

Regional CEO of Aspirations Academies Trust, Mandy Lancy explained the purpose of the conference:  “Student voice is everything in the Trust; it empowers students to improve their own schools and to set the priorities for the development of student voice across the schools in the Aspirations family. It gives them a chance to share good practice from their own academies and to think about how they can shape future change.” 

At the end of the event the students were able to reflect on the day’s gains:

“It was a great opportunity to be able to collaborate with other schools and share each other’s experiences. We were able to analyse data and plan how to make schools within the Trust a better place for students and staff.”  Sofia, Yr 11 Rivers Academy

“It was interesting to hear about school values and how we were all similar; it felt like I was a part of a community I wasn’t initially aware of. When I complained about my teacher not arranging an after school club I wanted, Mr David challenged me by asking why I had not taken the initiative and arranged it myself! This made me realise that ,even though I am a student, I have a voice and I can use it.”  Aisha, Yr 12 Space Studio

“This Conference reminded us of the importance of leadership and freedom of speech as well as reminded us that what we do matters!”  Doina, Yr 10 Rivers Academy 

“As a student of Space Studio, I was overjoyed that this conference was organised so that students’ opinions could be taken into consideration. Students from different schools of all ages and backgrounds came together to talk about what they not only wanted but needed as a school. Student voice is everything!” –Zeynah, Yr 12 SSWL

To hear more about the ways student leadership works within Aspirations Academies Trust listen here:

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