The Deepings School Champions students’ Voice

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Students to be represented on the school’s Community Council

The Deepings School, part of Anthem Schools Trust, is introducing student representatives onto each of its school Community Councils. The significant change to local governance will ensure that the students’ voice is heard just as clearly in the boardroom as it is in the classroom and places students at the forefront of decision-making.

In what is believed to be a first for a multi-academy trust, Anthem Schools Trust has invited two students from each of its 16 schools, including from The Deepings School, to sit on their local governing body, called Anthem Community Councils (ACCs).The student representatives, selected by their fellow students, are to be known as Timi Champions after the Year 10 student from St Mark’s Academy in Mitcham whose idea it was. He approached Anthem’s CEO, Mohsen Ojja, on a visit to the school to ask why students did not form part of the governing councils.

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CEO of Anthem Schools Trust, Mohsen Ojja, said: “I was so taken by Timi’s direct, open and honest approach and how he was able to clearly articulate the need for Anthem to consider his and other students’ voices - it was a catalyst for change. As a direct result of that conversation, the senior team and the Board of Trustees took the decision to appoint two students to all of our 16 Anthem Community Councils. These student associates are to be known as 'Timi Champions'.

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“It is essential that our students’ voices are captured, listened to, and considered as an integral part of the framework of how we work. Student voices must be enabled to have genuine impact across all our schools and this is embedded into our ethos. ”

Ethan Jones and Evie Latrinco-Ferris have been selected.

Kirstie Johnson, headteacher at The Deepings School said: “We are incredibly proud of Ethan and Evie for speaking out and contributing to our new strategy, laying the foundation for positive change. Their voices, along with those of other students, will undoubtedly shape the future of our school and Anthem Schools Trust. Since taking the position of headteacher at the school, Ethan and Evie have both championed student voice, been proactive on the student council and contribute to the school in further ways, notably their extracurricular activities. Therefore, it was a very natural step up for them to be put forward for this role and embrace the opportunity. Ethan and Evie will join Roger Gale, chair of the school community council in discussing key issues affecting the school, along with other members of the ACC.”

Claire Pannell, Director of Governance and General Counsel at Anthem, said: “The local layer of governance in our schools plays a vital role in acting as a conduit for everyone in the Trust to listen, hear, and act on the voices of our wider community. The role of the Timi Champion is central to this approach, with a specific focus on capturing the lived experiences of all students across our family of schools. This way we can ensure that their voices are heard by Anthem’s National Team and Trustees, allowing us to address issues and share in celebrations and lessons learned across the Trust for the benefit of all.”

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The ACC meetings are held termly and the newly appointed Timi Champions will be taking up their posts this spring term with Council meetings booked in for after the February half term break. The student associates will have a Timi Supporter, a nominated teacher at their school, to help guide them.