Story: Linda Keane
A runners-up award from the Speaker’s School Council 2011 Annual Award Scheme was presented to St Catherine’s Catholic Primary School. The annual scheme, launched in 2009 by The Speaker of the House of Commons, recognises the most inspiring and engaging achievements of school councils across the UK.
St Catherine’s Catholic Primary School this year won the runner up prize for the Okpara Campaign, which was launched in support of a pupil and their family from the school facing deportation. On returning to a new school term, the school council were alerted to this news, and decided to research Human Rights issues, the law, and met with the family. This culminated in an assembly based on their interview and their findings, asking each pupil in the school to contribute to a banner to show messages of support. They also involved local news and wrote to the Children’s Commissioner about their campaign. The family have now been allowed to stay whilst the children finish their education.
David Blunkett, MP for Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough, came to St Catherine’s Primary school on Friday 8 July 2011 to present a runners-up award from the Speaker’s School Council at St Catherine’s Catholic Primary School. David Blunkett said: “It’s wonderful for the youngsters to have done so well to be runners up nationally for the work they have done. This is young citizenship at its very best with the school council working as we always hoped it would, to give youngsters a feel not only of how the world works but the influences they can bring to bear.’’
The award scheme is open to every primary school, secondary school and college in the country and has become a highly prized award. The judges were looking for the way student councils have enhanced their school's relationship with the community or the environment, or in the areas of democracy, engagement, learning and teaching.