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If you could speak to every headteacher in the country, what would you tell them?

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Recently, The Key had the pleasure of hosting Mayflower Community Academy’s 'ChOfsted' team, a group of pupils committed to improving their school. They travelled to our office from Plymouth (after a very early start!) to find out more about what we do and get top tips from our events team on how to successfully plan and run their very own ChOfsted event.

Returning to my roots as a primary school teacher, I chatted to four members of the ChOfsted team (Anya, Amy, Mya and Lyra) to hear about this innovative school council ... before they bombarded me with questions* of their own!

[caption id="attachment_6840" align="alignnone" width="3771"] "Are you getting all this down, Adam?"[/caption]

Can you explain what ChOfsted is and what you do?

Anya: ChOfsted is a team of pupils who work with the leadership team and the headteacher to improve the school. We visit different schools to share our ideas and to also learn how other schools are making improvements. If we see something we like, we take it back with us.

Amy: We even visited our local council and took part in a debate. That was exciting!

 What have you done to improve your school?

Amy: I think we go on more trips now.

Anya: Trips are quite expensive but we managed to raise £426 to visit The Key. We went to teachers and our families and asked them to sponsor us. My dad was sponsored to wear a hat at work saying ‘I’m a loser’. That was funny.

 How did you become a member of ChOfsted?

Anya and Amy: First we had to fill in a form and then had an interview with the headteacher. It took all day! They asked us what we would do to make life at the school better. We also had to say what we thought about our school marking system, called PERMS. It stands for praise, enhancement, response, measure and share. Some of us made PowerPoint presentations as well.

 What makes a good teacher?

Amy: A good teacher is someone that you can rely on.

Anya: Someone who is patient and someone who chooses different people in lessons so everyone gets to speak - who doesn't just ask the same people with their hand up all the time. It's important to give someone else a go - even if they might not get the answer right!

Mya: Someone who you can have a joke with and who will be there for you, but isn’t your friend.

Lyra: A good teacher is someone who will look after you if you are not feeling very happy.

What do you think it must be like to be a teacher?

Anya: I think it must be very stressful especially when children keep talking and I think it must be hard when children don’t listen. I would like to be a teacher when I am older though.

 What was your journey like to our office and how did you feel?

Amy: I was really excited as I have never been on a train to London before. I couldn’t sleep!

Anya: I went to bed early so I didn’t get too excited.

Mya: I didn’t sleep very well as I kept checking the clock. My mum was quite nervous though. She kept waking me up because she was so nervous!

Amy: It took us 3½ hours to get to London. Then we had to come on the Tube. It was very busy and we all had to hold on very tight. Nobody spoke ... well, except us of course!

What do you think it must be like to work in London?

Mya: I think it would be very hard. It would be like having to juggle three balls and I can only juggle two, so I would find it very difficult!

Amy: Yeah I think it would be hard too as there are more customers in the shops.

Anya: Yes, it is very busy. People are always rushing about.

If you lived in London, what do you think you would do on the weekend?

Amy and Anya: We would do A LOT of shoe shopping. I think the boys would just stay in and watch football, and maybe go to Sports Direct too.

Lyra: I would go on a boat on the river and go on the London Eye too. I haven't been on the London Eye. In fact, I haven't ever been on any eye!

Finally, if you could speak to every headteacher in the country, what would be one thing you would tell them?

Amy and Anya: Make sure that you listen to the pupils. Sometimes headteachers are too busy and don’t have the time to listen to you. Even if they could just spend one minute listening, that would be great!

*The girls asked me whether "we have lots of laughs in the research team"  and challenged me on how our researchers could "work even more quickly". Anya thought we all needed "flaming fingers" so that we could type our answers faster!

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