At Yavneh, we strongly believe student leadership is one of the essential strands of personal development. We encourage all students to take on leadership roles in our Yavneh community and believe this is vital to developing our values and vision.
This year we created an Eco-Committee in order to improve our sustainability as a school.
The committee, led by Miss Simons (Science) and Mr Gordon (Geography) is been made up of two students in each year group and has met on a monthly basis.
Part of the role of the committee was to apply for the Eco-Schools Green Flag Award in order to give us a structure and plan to make a difference. The award involved creating an action plan to improve three areas of the school and to document progress and impact.
We received the accreditation of the award in July 2023 and we plan on continuing the work of the Eco-Committee in future years.
This is an extract from the report from our application for the award:
We are very pleased to tell you that you and your Eco-Committee at Yavneh College have been successful in meeting the requirements for the Eco-Schools Green Flag Award.
We reviewed your application and noted the following:
Our team enjoyed reading about the Eco-Committee you have put together this year, comprising both student and adult members with a shared passion for protecting our planet. Your selection process is inclusive and robust, well done to selected members on their appointment! We loved reading the application from a potential member of your Eco-Committee. They sound like a very impressive individual and are clearly passionate about improving their local community and protecting our planet. It was great to read that carrying out the Environmental Review gave your pupils plenty to think about and helped them see how they could make a difference to their environment. We admire your commitment to tackling areas where you scored lowest in the Environmental Review and your consideration of the cost of resources to help you complete your projects. Your Action Plan clearly shows that your Eco-Committee has carefully considered how it can involve the entire school in its planned Eco-Schools’ activities to achieve maximum impacts and raise awareness amongst the school community. We love the variety of practical activities planned for delivery and it’s great to see strong monitoring and evaluation factored in. Great work everybody! Your examples of learning correspond with your chosen Eco-Schools topics, providing an important real-world context for your students that will inspire and motivate and give them a more in-depth understanding of the projects that they are working on. We love the sound of your enrichment club working on improving your school grounds and biodiversity around your school site – well done to all involved for their hard work in this area! Thank you for sharing some great examples of your lesson resources, our team loved looking through these. Your Eco-Committee members have made considerable efforts to keep their schoolmates and community up-to-date on their progress, using a variety of methods including posters and emails to staff. The digital poster you uploaded is fantastic! We love that as a school you are also using the power of social media to share your good work with the wider community. And it’s great to read that you’ve teamed up with the primary school committee to spread the eco-message further and wider! This comprehensive approach will help to engage others and expand the reach of your Eco-Schools work. Our team enjoyed reading your evaluations of each of your chosen topics. It’s clear that you’ve made great progress towards achieving all of your goals for your chosen Eco-Schools topics this year – along with the figures provided and evidence you’ve shared with us throughout your application, everything points to a very successful year on your Eco-Schools journey, well done everyone! Your acrostic poem Eco-Code is thoughtful and very powerful, and full of direct calls to action. It’s a great reflection of the ethos that your Eco-Committee has created, we’re sure it motivates and inspires everybody who reads it around your school site. Well done to all involved! Thank you for your question suggestions for next year’s Environmental Review, they’re interesting and intelligent ideas that we will take into consideration when compiling next year’s review. Overall, this is a terrific application. Everyone at Yavneh College should be proud of the Green Team and the amazing and inspiring work that they’ve delivered this year. You’re more than worthy of your Eco-Schools Green Flag with Merit. Congratulations!
Created in 2021, the Wellbeing Champions is a small group of pupils in KS3 dedicated to improving the mental health and emotional wellbeing of the Yavneh community. The Wellbeing Champions programme is part of our long-term objective to obtain a Healthy Young Minds in Hertfordshire Mental Health Kitemark accreditation and to communicate to the whole school community Yavneh’s commitment to mental health and wellbeing.
The Wellbeing Champions meet weekly over a lunch break, chaired by a member of the Wellbeing staff team, the aims of these meetings are to produce and discuss new student-led initiatives targeted to improving the wellbeing of the Yavneh community.
Such ideas that have already borne fruit are a welcoming video created, produced, starring and edited by current Year 8s for incoming Year 7s’ induction, as well as giving away treats attached with positive messaging for World Mental Health Day, as well as baking cookies and brownies for Staff Appreciation day.
The students who have applied for and become Wellbeing Champions are incredibly enthusiastic about their role and are passionate in ensuring their peers enjoy their time at Yavneh College. In recent meetings they have discussed plans to be carried out in 2023, including creating an assembly to inform their fellow students how to cope with specific mental health related issues, and running a fundraising event raising money for charities targeted towards improving Mental Health in young people.
GiveBack (Volunteering) Programme
In year 12 we ask all students to participate in a volunteer programme to allow them to “give back” to the school and demonstrate the sorts of qualities which will stand them on good stead for their post-18 pathways.
Students are asked to give up one free period a week to take part in the programme.
Students are given three options:
- Work in the lower school supporting a teacher (of their choice) with an Enrichment lesson
- Help in Yavneh Primary School
- Training as a mentor and working one on one with (targeted) lower school students on a weekly basis.
Students are given a booklet with which to document their activities and ensure these are signed off every week by a teacher.
Part of our GiveBack (volunteering) programme in year 12 includes the option to become a peer mentor.
All mentors have to apply for the position and are taken off timetable for bespoke training, led by our Wellbeing Practioner.
Mentors are then assigned students in the lower school (chosen by Heads of Year) to meet one on one with our mentors once a week in our LRC during Form Time (25 minutes).
JLT (Junior Leadership Team)
The JLT is a key component of “student voice” at Yavneh College. There is a JLT for each year group, led by one member of the senior prefect team. Each form group elects two members to represent them throughout the year.
Meetings (40 minutes) are held once a half term and the minutes from each meeting are shared with the Head of Sixth Form and then discussed with the senior leadership team.
The agenda for each meeting is shared a week in advance with the JLT members so they have an opportunity to discuss and consult with their form group. All members of the JLT are also welcome to raise their own issues to discuss as well as the set items on the agenda.
The JLT also have met with the catering company several times in the last year to gain feedback and suggestions regarding lunches.
As well as providing valuable feedback to the senior leadership team, over the last few years JLT has contributed to a number of changes across the school.
- Staggered lunches for different year groups
- Late starts (Year 12 and 13)
- PSHCE sessions/topics
- “Meat Free Fridays”
- Individual recycling bins for plastic bottles
- Year 7 “help desk” run by Year 12 prefects
- New tables for Sixth Form Café and Workroom
- New water fountains
- New picnic benches
- Additional vegetarian and vegan options in the school canteen
- Summer dress code for Sixth Form students
Any student can apply to be a school prefect at the end of year 11. All prefects serve for the duration of Year 12. Students will be assigned a subject / department to work with as well a weekly lunch duty.
2022 – 23 Prefects:
2023 – 24 Prefects:
The subject prefect duties include a wide range responsibilities including helping with open evenings, putting up displays, running extra-curricular clubs, supporting GCSE revision clubs and many more.
The weekly duties range from lunchtime queue supervision, LRC support, working in the SEND base at lunchtimes and joining in Shacharit with Key Stage 3 forms.
Two students from each house are selected from the prefects to represent each of the school houses. Under the supervision of Mrs Max (Head of IJE) the house captains perform a range of duties which include delivering assemblies to the lower school, working with the IJE department in many ways during festivals and events and playing an active role supporting each house during sports days.
Any Year 12 student can apply to be a senior prefect. As well as acting as role models for all students in the school, our senior prefects will each be responsible for an individual JLT year group where they will run a half termly meeting and feedback to the Head of Sixth Form. Senior prefects will also have the opportunity to represent the school in a range of ways including giving tours to perspective parents and guests, speaking at prize days and open evenings and playing an active role in “student voice” through regular meetings with the Head of Sixth Form.
Sixth Form Kavod (Respect) Committee
To help Yavneh students cope with any challenging or difficult social situations. To ensure all pupils have an older student available to ask for help and who can direct them towards appropriate advice and/or support.
This committee was established in 2021 in the aftermath of the Sarah Everard murder and the growing national spotlight on the issue of sexual harassment.
The aim of the committee is to ensure that the students themselves can help play a role in further educating students about respect and appropriate behaviour towards each other.
Role of the committee:
- Meet once a half term with either the Head of Sixth Form and/or Headteacher.
- To further develop pupil voice and lines of communication with senior leadership with regard to the issues of respect, sexual harassment and consent.
- To ensure that the committee is “relaunched” every year for Year 12 students at the start of the summer term.
- To consult with Head of Sixth Form on the topics for KS4 and KS5 PSHCE.
- To plan and deliver a series of Year 12 PSHCE lessons on sexual harassment and consent, self-respect and LGBTQ+. This will be integrated into the current Sixth Form and PSHCE curriculum.
- To plan and deliver a Year 11 PSHCE lesson on sexual harassment and consent.
- To visit every form group in the school and/or deliver assemblies with the purpose of introducing all students in the school to the members of the committee and highlight their role and goals.
- To produce a poster to be put up across the school publicising the committee and its role.
- Years 7-12 will be assigned at least one student from the committee who will be introduced as a source of support for any student in the year group who wishes to report/discuss any incidents or concerns relating to harassment with a member of staff.
- To establish a confidential online form (via Teams) for students to contact their assigned member of the committee if they wish to speak to them directly and ask for their support.
In 2021, we have launched a pilot scheme to give a small group of year 12 students an opportunity to work with teachers to help them reflect on their own practice. Student observers work in pairs to arrange a time with an individual teacher to observe a (chosen) lesson.
Students will then feedback with the teacher following the lesson and discuss ideas for future practice and development. Each pair will have a specific focus when observing the lesson which students are free to choose. These include:
- Pupil Engagement
- Teacher movement during a lesson
- Nature of questioning
- Nature of feedback
- Nature of participation of students
All students chosen to be student observers have to attend a training session with the Head of Sixth Form which focuses on how to observe a lesson and how to approach the subsequent feedback sessions with teachers.
From September 2021, this programme will be expanded with a view to role out to students in the lower school and incorporate a larger number of teachers. The group of Year 12 students involved in the pilot programme will also be involved in the training of the lower school students.
Student Leadership (departments)
The English Ambassadors are an excellent support to the English department, offering weekly peer support with the English Clinic, and providing opportunities for pupil voice to the department. The team support pupils with improving their reading and writing skills, and are also innovative with helping pupils submit writing to competitions as well as coming up with activities and competitions within school.
– We run a debate society both in the Sixth Form (run by the students) and in the lower school (supported by Mr Dobrik).
– Year 12 Geography students supporting Year 7 pupils in lessons