Democratic Circles

image001Circles are all about making sure we are a listening school, and that everyone in school has their ideas and opinions heard. Through Circles we want to teach children about how to become active and involved citizens, who have a respect for other people and their opinions.

The staff and governors want to know what all our children think about what happens in school, and want the children to share in decision-making in school. Every half term two questions or topics are discussed and changes to the school suggested. One question comes from the adults in school and one question comes from the children of the school.

image002Circle leaders and their deputies are year six children who are elected by all the children in the school. They have an important job, because they are the people who help lead the conversation during Circles. Circle leaders listen to people, and write down what they say to record the different opinions in a group. Each Circle group also has adult members to help support the Circle leaders.

Circles are also about getting to know different children in school, so each Circle is made up of children from each class. Part of the circle leader role is to make sure everyone learns the names of all the people in their circle, and something about them.

image003Circles help develop skills that the school and the government think are fundamental to living in Britain today.

Circles…

  • encourage students to accept responsibility for their behaviour, show initiative, and to understand how they can contribute positively to the lives of those living and working in the locality of the school and to society more widely;
  • encourage respect for other people; and
  • encourage respect for democracy and support for participation in the democratic processes, including respect for the basis on which the law is made and applied in England.

image004Once the leaders have written down everyone’s opinions they meet with staff and governors to discuss what has been said. Where children have suggested changes the group will discuss what is possible and what is not possible. Where children have said what they know or feel about something the circle leaders, staff and governors will discuss if anything needs to be done to improve this aspect of the school.