Harrogate pupils shape schools’ future while unlocking potential to lead

Pupils in three village schools in the Harrogate area have taken on a pivotal role in prompting a host of different issues ranging from protecting the environment to supporting the use of modern technology in the classroom.

Children attending the federation of Beckwithshaw Community Primary School, Kettlesing Felliscliffe Primary School and Ripley Endowed Church of England Primary School, are taking the lead in a multitude of educational areas to nurture their sense of responsibility and develop their teamwork and leadership skills.

Sports leaders are overseeing the development of fun and active sessions, and sustainability and change eco-warriors are evaluating how environmentally-friendly their school actually is and encouraging everyone to recycle and save energy. Meanwhile, digital leaders are improving online safety and exploring how all pupils can be ready for their futures in an ever-developing digital world.

Executive headteacher Miss Victoria Kirkman explained that it is important all pupils are given the opportunity to be listened to when making decisions that affect them in school.

Three children playing with a ball in a school playground

She said: “Instead of having merely a ‘selection’ of pupils for a leadership group, we felt it vital that all pupils were involved in the shaping of an outstanding school experience.

“All pupils are then invested in the success of their school and have the ability to make real change happen. The initiative has also given them opportunities to develop their sense of responsibility.

“Our pupils begin learning leadership skills as early as reception classes. We want them to flourish throughout their lives and be courageous advocates. Therefore, all our pupils in the federation are now pupil leaders helping to create a positive and inclusive school culture for all regardless of age, need or ability.”

Staff and pupils at the schools had a lot to celebrate in 2023. Ripley Endowed Church of England Primary School received a good rating from Ofsted inspectors, while last July, Beckwithshaw Primary School also achieved a good Ofsted grading - just 19 months after it was found to be failing.