VGMS School Student Council 2020-21

Our Student Council is a body of students elected by their peers in a formal election setting. They represent the views of all the students at Valley Gardens and they consider ways to improve the school. There are representatives from each year group who discuss matters about their learning and school life and raise any concerns with the Senior Leadership Team.

Our vision is for all students at Valley Gardens Middle School to have their voices heard and make our school a caring, safe and healthy environment for all, by promoting our core values: kindness, resilience and respect.

Congratulations to our elected Student Council 2021-22

Class Representative Class Representative
5AGO Arran McFarlane 6DCH Martha Hollyman
5CJA Charlie Oates 6DMC Ellen Maule
5NHO Reece Thompson 6HHE Sophia Anderson
5SBR Dominic Devereux 6JMU Lula Rochester Peary
5TDI Alexander Kirkley 6PMC Marcus Box
5VSC Leo Moss 6SBU Imogen Hearn
7DBE Amy Johnson 8CMA Chloe Mitchell
7KGR Luke Brunt 8DFA Beth Williams
7ORC Jacob French 8DRO TBC
7POL Emily Hodgson 8FBR Charlie Furness
7SHA Victor Emary 8SHI Logan Whinfield
7SVI David Milligan 8SWR TBC

Houses of Parliament Trip Report

By Sophia Anderson

The day began with us getting on the metro and riding to Newcastle Central Station. We got onto a 3 hour train ride and got to Kings Cross.

 

We then walked to Westminster and waited to go inside the Houses of Parliament. We went inside and had to go through some security, which was very similar to airport security. Our tour guide, William Bruce, gave us headphones because it was a silent tour. We started walking through the building and saw some wonderful sights. Then, we went up some stairs and made our way into the Central Lobby. It was very unique. On the walls there were statues of past kings and queens, beautifully carved. On the ceiling was a magnificent chandelier. There was even a mini working post office inside.

We then got the pleasure to go inside the Public Viewing Gallery of the House of Commons! At the time, most of us didn’t really think we were going to watch the debate, but then we went through a room and our tour guide told us we had to be silent. The teachers had to hand all electronics to the doorkeeper at the desk. The door keepers actually wear a part of the crown jewels which means they are allowed anywhere in the building!

After that, we went into the viewing gallery and watched the debate (Sajid David was speaking)! We had to take our headphones off to hear what was happening. I was so amazed. We learnt that people in the House of Commons are elected and called MPs. Everything was green and gold which represents nature and life.

After the debate, we put our headphones back on and listened to William. He told us about how laws are made and debated in the House of Commons, but then get sent off into the House of Lords to get checked. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get into the House of Lords, but we still learnt a lot about it. MPs are in the House of Commons, but the House of Lords representatives are called Life Peers. The difference between them is that House of Commons MPs are elected: House of Lords members are appointed. For example, someone is very very good at their job, if someone notices them they might recommend them to become a Lord or Life Peer. It also could be family tradition so the role will be passed down the family on and on.

Once we got back into Central Lobby, William also told us, that once the law get made in the House of Commons then passed to the House of Lords; the Lords check it and can tweak it a bit. If they change or tweak it, it will be sent back to the Commons to go over. If they change it or leave it as it is, it will get sent back to the Lords then eventually they will agree and make a law. The process of bouncing laws from one house to another is called ‘ping pong’.

At the end of the tour, we did a quiz about what we had learned. We then acted out our own debate about creating a law to ban cigarettes and it was really fun. All of the people that spoke had great reasons about how to get to action. Some people said slow it down gradually, some people said just stop it, and some people said that we can’t stop it. It was a very good debate, but I think trying to gradually ban cigarettes won.

We then left and walked to the Tube station to end the day. We took 2 tube trains and one 3hour train. All of us were very lucky to be taken on the trip. 

Thank you Mrs McElderry and Mr Dibden for the wonderful trip.

 

Student Council 2020-21

Last year, our Student Council were extremely active and achieved so much despite the majority of their meetings and work taking place online. They were dedicated to having the voices of their classmates heard and promoting our values of: kindness, resilience and respect in all aspects of their work. Here is a outline of some of the work they were involved in:

  • Year 5 councillors attended an online webinar hosted by the UK Parliament learning all about the Role of the UK Parliament.
  • Contributed to our new ‘Code of Conduct’ which was launched across the whole school and appears in every classroom
  • One member wrote to our local MP, Sir Alan Campbell about ways to improve walking and cycling routes. Her idea was sent to the Transport Minister to see if a law can be passed. See tweet.
  • They discussed and created a document of how to improve the Epraise system in school and came up with many improvements which will be rolled out this year.
  • They wrote to parents to ask them to support a non-uniform day to raise funds for Student Council in order to purchase mirrors for the toilets which was a priority for many pupils and also the Epraise shop.
  • Councillors wrote messages to Year 4 telling them about what to expect when they join Year 5.
  • Some of the team were involved in transition activities: visiting Year 4 at their First School and also giving tours of our school to get them ready for their new school.
  • They requested to have their own area on the school webpage to update everyone on their priorities for the year.
  • Student Council members took part in various pupil panels last year, including meeting with the Director of Education; our Safeguarding Governor and interviews for new staff member appointments. They also came up with questions to ask at the panels.
  • They asked their classes for books they would like to see in the library after a fundraising event. They compiled a list of books, including a budget spreadsheet.
  • Mr Godfrey asked for their feedback on our new assessment system and shared them with the whole staff.
  • They compiled ideas of how to improve the school entrance area to make it more warm and welcoming. Their ideas were realised and it is now a lovely space with comfy chairs, cushions, plants and pupils’ artwork.
  • Some of our councillors are also part of Eco-Club and organised an ‘Earth Day’ drop-down afternoon for the whole school.
  • Key Stage 3 councillors spoke to all classes and in assembly about the role of a student councillor and why it is important to represent your class and have your voices heard through a democratic voting process.