The school is run co-operatively by staff and students and all decisions we arrive at about school life will have been discussed in one of the following groups:
School Meeting – a weekly meeting of all students and staff in which we discuss and vote on any issues that arise there or that have been proposed by the sub-groups below.
Staff Meeting – although open to students, the staff meeting is essentially where we design the academic timetable, and individual tutees are discussed by the teachers and adults in the school.
School Council – an elected group of 6 students and one teacher who discuss and investigate infringements or problems as they occur within the school. It takes its daily findings and suggestions to the School Meeting.
Student Led Groups – e.g. Useful Work Committee, Climbing Wall who take responsibility for tidying school and keeping unsupervised areas safe and orderly.
This means that the school is run by its present population of children and adults either through the School Meeting or through delegation by smaller sub-groups. On any given day up to 15 out of our 65/75 students will be actively involved in decision making and problem solving and once a week all members of the school could be gathered to decide on a new pupil election or staff appointment or a host of other issues.
At the heart of what we believe is that children, when given the opportunity, are kind, trustworthy and responsible and that they are eminently capable of helping run the place within which they work. In fact, it is an expectation that in return for the freedom and trust they are offered, the students should respond by behaving in a responsible and trustworthy manner: the right to help decide goes hand in hand with the need to be responsible in one’s contribution to the school.
In keeping with the philosophy of the school the School Meeting is not overseen by or answerable to other ‘stakeholders’. That does not mean that they are not appropriately supported and advised. The P.T.A. can suggest ideas to School Meeting for further discussion. It also acts as a parent forum to discuss ideas and issues of interest to parents. However, unlike many schools, parents do not tend to have roles as volunteers in the school. The Governors also have only an advisory role at Sands. They comprises educators, parents past and present, current and ex-students and independent adults whose job it is to protect the school’s constitution and maintain its financial well being. They delegate all decision-making to the School Meeting and do not have a strategic role. They too may bring issues to the School Meeting for discussion.