A smart school council will make a real effort to reach out to students, but it’s equally important to let them come to you. A school council suggestion box allows anyone to submit an idea or question to the council. Some students might find this an easier way of communicating if they are uncomfortable talking in front of people or if they want to make the suggestion anonymously.
How to do it?
Design a colourful, attractive and secure suggestion box(es) – maybe get someone in the technology department to help make them.Setting up a good suggestion box is as simple finding the right place for it. Put them in places around the school where people can easily put things in them without feeling embarrassed. Students have to know it’s there, otherwise there may be great ideas in the school that the council will never hear about. That’s why it’s important for the suggestion box to be displayed where everyone will see it and have the opportunity to submit.
Another good idea is to have the box at the centre of a display. That way you can surround the suggestion box with questions, ideas, information about existing school council projects, anything you think might inspire students to contribute. Maybe even a school council progress board?
Having a space set aside for the suggestion box will also allow you to put out pens and paper for the students to actually make suggestions. It would be a shame if you missed out on good ideas because it couldn’t be written down at the time!
When you’ve collected together all the suggestions sit down with someone else to go trough them quickly. You should create three piles:
- Ones that are not serious, ones that are clearly people messing around.
- Ones that need to be passed on to a member of staff – there shouldn’t be many of these, but if someone uses the box to tell you about something that puts them at risk, you need to pass these on (find out who the school’s Child Protection Officer is and get a list from her/him of what things s/he would want you to pass on).
- Ones that you need to take action on: this will generally be passing on to an Action Team or setting up a meeting between the person offering the suggestion and an Action Team or a member of staff.
Before a school council meeting you can gather up the suggestions and discuss if there are have been any good ideas submitted that would be worth taking forward. Be careful not to dismiss anything, if students went to the effort of making a suggestion, as a councillor it’s your responsibility to hear what they have to say.
You should share your lists with the rest of the Comms Team so they can tell everyone about all the things that students are achieving in the school. You can download some of the suggestion forms below and try it with your school council.
We’ve put together lesson plans for primary and secondary school students to make their own suggestion boxes. It can be an easy and fun way to get students collaborating and problem solving in new ways. Download the resources below to see if it’s something you would be interested to try in your class.
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A suggestion box is only one way of keeping in touch with the rest of the students at your school. Have a look at our school council communication page for more ideas that might work for your school.