The Student Voice curriculum was developed from research within the organisation that indicated excluded students lacked the skills to communicate effectively, particularly with those in authority. The overriding aim of Voice was therefore to enable students to articulate effectively and to self-advocate appropriately.
From the start Student Voice has followed a theme-based curriculum, lessons are structured to allow students to learn about and develop opinions on a range of issues. In addition to developing their speaking and listening skills, students are also engaging with topics often taught within the context of PSHE, Citizenship, Politics, Humanities and Critical Thinking.
Many of the outcomes for each Voice project involve students having to use their verbal skills in a formal setting, often before invited panels of judges and assessors. Examples of Voice projects have included Dragon’s Den style presentations which have led to student’s ideas for their groups, or the College, as a whole being funded. Other examples include College wide debating competitions, party political broadcasts, arts and culture workshops leading to students achieving the Bronze Arts Award and also projects involving community engagement.
Voice has become an integral part of the overall curriculum and has allowed for a high level of creativity and responsiveness in the planning and delivery of its syllabus. The Voice ethos of developing speaking and listening skills has become embedded across other areas of the curriculum with verbal outcomes forming part of each course’s lesson planning.