The Student Council
The Student Council in Hartstown School is a student run and student lead organisation. It is made up of Class Representatives. Each class gets to elect a fellow class member to represent that class. From all the Class Reps, Year Representatives are elected onto the council. This way anyone can bring an issue to a Class Rep, who will bring it to the Year Rep, who in turn will bring it forward to the Student Council.
The role of The Student Council in Hartstown involves:
Listening to students
Representing student views
Being a consultative body with students, staff and parents
Improving school atmosphere, facilities, policies etc.
Establishing links with the wider community
With the help of the Irish Second-Level Students Union and liaison teacher Mr Keane we are always working in an effort to make sure that we are fulfil our roles.
Some things that we have done include running charity events on Sports Day, organising Student Cards for students and campaigning against Cyber Bullying by giving First Year Classes presentations on Cyber Bullying and Internet Safety. This year, one of our members was elected chairperson of the local Fingal Comhailre na nÓg (Youth Council).
All council members are fully dedicated to serving the school. We meet every second Friday during lunch and are always looking for suggestions from students on improving the school in any way we can.
Robert Moore (Chairperson)
Student Council – First Year Cyber Bullying and Internet Safety Presentation
Every year The Student Council runs a campaign promoting internet safety and how to deal with cyber bullying for First Year students. It has been a great success with positive responses from the First Years. This year, we decided to coordinate the presentations with a visit from a guest speaker, Pat McKenna of Childwatch.ie, who worked with First, Second and Fifth Year groups.
Council members spend a lot of time in the weeks before the talks working on their presentation. First, the Power Point Presentation is reviewed. Anything that needs to be updated is changed at this point – things like new social media platforms need to be included and less popular ones taken out.
The First Year Representatives on the Student Council are always on the subcommittee that organises the presentation. The reason behind this is to get the opinion of the intended audience: if these First Years don’t like something, then others won’t!
After the amendments have been made, the council members who will be giving the talk practise going through the presentation. They do this in front of each other so that they can offer constructive criticism and pick up better presentation skills.
After everyone is prepared, we look at the First Year timetables and see when then SPHE classes take place. The teachers of SPHE are asked if the Student Council can join one of their classes to deliver the presentation. Then, groups of three from the subcommittee go into the class, give the presentation, and invite discussion and feedback.
We also devised a follow-up class after the presentation. The purpose of the follow-up class was to increase engagement with the topic. A list of possible discussion topics was forwarded to the SPHE teacher to encourage a whole-class discussion facilitated by the teacher.
The feedback from First Year students who received the presentation, the teachers and the Council members themselves was positive. It was agreed to continue this peer education initiative next year.