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Children celebrate after their ideas win their school an award 10 January 2013

PUPILS at Fairfield Junior School in Douglas held a celebration assembly today after their ideas gained their school the prestigious Investing in Children award.

Schools seeking the benchmark must prove they not only listen to, and act on, pupils’ initiatives. Evaluators check that children’s views have made a genuine difference to school life.

130-pupil Fairfield, in Tynwald Street in Douglas, has an energetic school council that meets weekly to draw up ideas to present to headteacher Ian Walmsley and staff. Each year elects a boy and a girl to the council. Investing in Children award

The council has started up and runs clubs where pupils can learn ICT, performing and origami. It organised a successful Hallowe’en disco, complete with refreshments, and a Fairfield’s Got Talent contest, inviting along judges and looking after all the equipment. It has also secured new playground equipment.

The pupils’ proudest achievement has been to oversee the transformation of as little-used kitchen where the décor was ‘boring and plain’, into a warm and welcoming area where Year 6 pupils make shortbread and scones.

School council chairman Abigail Dyche, a Year 6 pupil, said:

‘We have 10 members who all have jobs. There is a chair, a secretary, a treasurer, someone who sorts out decorations for events and other roles. All members of the council are the voice for their class. They receive ideas from their classmates and these are discussed at council meetings to decide if they will work.’

Abigail added:

‘Mrs Wilson, who runs the school council, also lets us go out with adults and buy things for any events we are holding, we use money we have raised from previous events.’

Describing how evaluators Nigel Bennett and Annette Baker came to award Fairfield Investing in Children status, Abigail continued:

‘They came to talk to us about how we ran the school council. We told them how we raise money for charities. A couple of us showed them around the school. Once they had gone we talked to Mr Walmsley about more new ideas we had come up with.’

At today’s assembly, Juan Turner MLC, a member of the Department of Education and Children, presented Fairfield pupils with the award. It is the third school to celebrate achieving the award since local evaluators were appointed to drive the initiative forward in the Island.

Mr Bennett, who is Headteacher of St John’s Primary School, and Mrs Baker, Deputy Headteacher of Ballakermeen High School, last year qualified to assess organisations in the Island bidding for Investing in Children status. Their own schools were, up to that point, the only local holders. Since then, Dhoon and Arbory primaries have also been presented with the award.

For more information about Investing in Children, contact Mr Bennett at headteacher@stjohns.sch.im (tel: 801282) or Mrs Baker at A.Baker@bhs.sch.im (tel: 648700).

Photo: Mr Turner MLC presenting the award to the school council. Also pictured are Brona Wilson, who runs the school council, and Nigel Bennett, one of two local evaluators for Investing in Children.

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