Effective student councils in second-level schools, is also cited in Towards 2016, as a key innovative Government measure. The OMCYA is collaborating with the Department of Education and Science in overseeing the running of the student council support service, set up in September 2007. This support service was the main recommendation of the final report of the Student Council Working Group (2003-2005), which was established, chaired and managed by the OMCYA. Eleven second-level students, aged between 13 and 17 years, were members of this Government Working Group, which in 2003 marked a milestone in public policy-making.
In the course of its work, the Student Council Working Group has achieved the following:
- Developed and produced a leaflet and poster and a website (www.studentcouncil.ie), which were launched by the Minister for Children in March 2004. These are aimed at students and promote the establishment of Student Councils.
- Commissioned independent research entitled Second-level Student Councils in Ireland: A Study of Enablers, Barriers and Supports, launched by the Minister for Children in April 2005. The study concludes that student councils provide enormous benefits to students and to schools, and afford students the opportunity to develop responsibility and leadership skills and to better understand the value of citizenship.
- Developed and produced the first-ever Student Council Resource Pack and Diary (print-friendly version) for second-level schools, launched by the Minister for Children in March 2006. The Resource Pack is an invaluable resource to students, teachers and school management in establishing and running student councils in second-level schools. It includes information, activities and templates to assist schools in establishing and improving student councils. The Student Council Diary (print-friendly version) is a more concise, user-friendly version of the Resource Pack for use by members of student councils. These resources were disseminated to all post-primary schools in March 2006.
Civic Social and Political Education (CSPE) teaching/learning resource entitled Giving Young People a Voice; Student Councils in Schools
The OMCYA collaborated with the Curriculum Development Unit in funding the development of a Civic Social and Political Education (CSPE) teaching/learning resource entitled Giving Young People a Voice; Student Councils in Schools (2007). The resource is the basis for the work of the student council support service and is gradually being introduced into schools by the coordinator of that service. It promotes the rights of children and young people to a voice in matters that affect their lives under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the National Children’s Strategy. It also incorporates information about Dáil na nÓg and Comhairle na Óg and their potential links with student councils. The establishment or improvement of student councils is the main focus of the resource.
Link to Studentcouncil.ie website.