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Barking & Dagenham has one of the highest rates of unemployment and child poverty of all the London boroughs and has struggled with gang and knife crime in the past couple of years. The Council Chief Executive told us they were looking for a cost-effective way of engaging young people in borough issues and for a way of finding out what young people thought.
Launching in all 61 schools in the Schools Improvement Partnership, we set up the voting system so the council could also find out what their young people thought about issues in the area. Since doing so, we have empowered the council to make decisions for young people as a direct result of their feedback.
St Chad’s RCVA and Ramshaw are two small primary schools in Durham. When they came on board in 2016, both schools were rated as ‘Good’ by Ofsted. The Head of both schools, Dominic Brown, was eager to teach pupils about global issues but was finding it hard to cover them with the pressures on the core curriculum.
Dom and his staff now use the VotesforSchools materials both for weekly assemblies and short circle time sessions. Teachers dive into the detail of topics in circle time and then pupils vote together as a whole school in assemblies. Dom asserts that VotesforSchools has been a brilliant tool and has enabled him to educate pupils about really difficult subjects. This was reflected in St Chad’s 2018 Ofsted report.
Have a look at what we've already got planned for 2020/2021!
The questions we get the most about using VotesforSchools in your school or College.
There are three ways in which we choose our topics:
1. Based on current affairs, as was the case for our Black Lives Matter resources, as well as many of our Coronavirus VoteTopics.
2. Based on the diverse society in which we live and the events or Awareness Days that celebrate different communities. You can find our list of pre-planned topics for 2020/21 by downloading our calendar here.
3. Based on suggestions from voters and teachers on what they would like to see us cover. These are some of our favourite topics to cover as we know we are reflecting issues they find most important back to them!
We always provide voters with further information of who they can talk to or raise any concerns with for any particularly challenging topics, and we always recommend the government Safeguarding best practice policy is followed.
At the beginning of each week the team sits down with the proposed VoteTopic question and maps out the most compelling arguments for and against. These form the foundation upon which each lesson is built, with all the activities offering scope to explore both the “Yes” and “No” sides.
When covering specialised topics, we consult experts wherever possible to ensure the information we are providing is from a trusted source and is giving our voters accurate advice and guidance.
Each lesson is carefully checked prior to publication to ensure that it not only takes an objective view of the topic but also offers arguments from a range of sources to reflect press coverage. Where possible we also like to give young people the opportunity to explore any “fake news” surrounding the topic, and all our lessons encourage critical thinking and seek to improve digital literacy.
VotesforSchools can be delivered in tutor time, Assembly, as a whole school resource, or during a PSHE or Citizenship lesson. We have also known of subscribers that have had great success in implementing a dedicated VotesforSchools slot in their timetable . There is implementation support from us if needed and lots of sharing of ideas amongst teachers.
Please see below for guidelines which show how we support British Values, SMSC, Prevent and the draft Ofsted framework (2019) across Primary & Secondary schools and Colleges. Click the links to download the relevant material for your school.
Primary: VotesforSchools Primary Curriculum & Ofsted overview
Secondary: VotesforSchools Secondary Curriculum & Ofsted overview
Colleges: VotesforColleges Curriculum & Ofsted overview
We also provide termly summaries of how we have met SMSC, British Values & Prevent through each weekly topic. These are sent out as part of our Christmas, Easter & Summer newsletters.
There is a simple log in process and we provide clear, easy-to-follow guidance. Our helpline is available during school hours with friendly advice and help if you have any problems: firstname.lastname@example.org
We understand that all schools have different approaches and access to technology. We have built maximum flexibility into the platform meaning that users can vote on laptops, tablets, smartphones or in the school computer suite. We provide a ballot box if a school prefers to vote manually rather than online.
Schools can access the anonymised data specific to their school and also see the data relating to other schools across the country. The VoteData will be sent to the lead teacher in your school. A full report on the weekly results as well as user-friendly infographics are also uploaded to our website and social media platforms each week.
VotesforSchools takes the issue of data protection and data privacy extremely seriously and adheres to the highest possible standards. Privacy of data is one of the core principles of our company and we will never sell or commercialise data. Voters have an individualised user login so that all data remains anonymous. Data on your school will be private and unique to you and will under no circumstances be shared with anyone else.
We know that you will want to give VotesforSchools a try with your school community before you join us. Head to the “Free Downloads” page on our website here to get hold of some outstanding free lessons for you to use and trial in your school.
The VotesforSchools platform runs for a whole year, regardless of sign-up date with VotePacks for every week of the academic year.
If you would like access to any past topics, please get in touch at email@example.com.
You can sign up by going to the “Sign Up” page here; email us on firstname.lastname@example.org, or call us on 07754 862979.
VotesforSchools takes data and privacy very seriously. We are fully compliant with the GDPR measures and ensure that any personal data is fully protected.
The personal data we collect on staff is exclusively used for the running of the VotesforSchools programme. We only collect staff emails; we collect zero identifiable personal data on voters, and we use staff emails to send new resources and allow schools to vote.
No data is shared with third parties unless we are required to do so by law and we will never pass your data to a third party without asking for permission.
If you have any further questions about data use please email email@example.com to request a copy of our compliance statement.
In 2019 we were incredibly proud to be official content partners for anti-bullying week. VotesforSchools resources went out to over 93% of schools in the UK.Click here to download our anti-bullying resources
VotesforSchools are honoured to be the official content provider for the award-winning careers programme The WOW Show.Check out our Wow Show resources
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St Chad's Catholic Primary School
Head of SMSC
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Coton C of E Primary School
ARP Phase Leader and Teacher of the Deaf
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Year 11 Teacher
Upper School Class Teacher
Small Haven School
Head of Learner Support Services
Guernsey College of Further Education