Up-skilling the SRC
How do you plan an effective SRC training day? David Mould, Director of Second Strike, explores some of the crucial aspects to consider when planning a training day for primary or secondary schools.It’s term 2! Many Student Councils are fully up and running, some are still finding their feet and a few are just now getting started. Whatever the stage of your SRC, and whatever the time of the year, finding some time to offer genuine training for the group will alter your outcomes for the year. If a student is to be an effective representative, then training is essential or else we risk setting them up to fail.
Second Strike specialises in supporting and training Student Representative Councils. Operating for 16 years, we tailor-make our programs to suit your specific school, and take in to account your students and the stage you are at.
A training day that is held during school time tends to be the most common structure and has proven most effective in demonstrating that the school takes the role seriously. Some schools also fund the hire of an external venue. This addition is nice but not necessary for creating the feeling of value. The element that will really demonstrate the school’s genuine valuing of the student council is – lunch! Provide a free and interesting lunch that the group eats together and you’re really on a winner. (Left-overs could be sent to the staff-room with a little note “A gift from the SRC”. Win some points early on.)
Should you get an external trainer? There are very likely teachers in your school quite capable of running a training day. Bonus, they’re free! A lot of the material we use ourselves is familiar to teachers. The advantages of an external facilitator are:
A new face saying the same things can have greater impact
An external person can often elicit conversation that students won’t raise if led by a teacher of the school, and
The SRC Teacher Adviser can participate in the training/planning day as a member of the team, advancing the working bond between you both.
Students should be consulted on the content of the program. So - what are their views of the critical needs of the program?
Most commonly we find two vital needs expressed, firstly, the students want a program and a presenter that doesn’t treat them like children, but as serious people. Secondly, we find students want time to create viable and real plans, not hypotheticals all day long – so action planning is very important. Lastly, though it is never spoken out loud, we find that senior students in a leadership role such as President, Chairperson or Captain, don’t want to be sidelined and treated as an ignorant recipient of knowledge. A good facilitator should incorporate students as leaders of the training day, not just participants. The office of ‘President’ should be respected by the trainer.
When in the year should you hold a training day? A training session can be of great value at any time of the year, however, the focus of the session should alter to reflect the current status of the work. Beginning of the year is great for getting going, a mid-year training should be about refocusing energies and building momentum for a major event or serious issue. End of year can be a time of review or it could be a chance to train the new SRC so they can hit the ground running on day 1, 2017.
Motivational sessions: largely feel-good rubbish.
Inspirational or heartfelt stories need to be backed up with techniques and skills the students can use to create their own success. An SRC training session should be focused on the students’ goals, not spent listening to someone else’s achievements.
Whoever delivers your training program, make sure they have understood your school’s unique situation so they do not simply give you a one-size-fits-all program. Talk to them about your needs and hopes and have them send you a draft to confirm they understand the outcomes you want and the style that is appropriate for your students.
Sample programs for training days are available for download from our website, www.second-strike.com. Our trainers are available to discuss and draft a plan for your SRC training day. We charge for our training days, but not for the consultation. Email:
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