Examples of short stories of significant change from users of the VocalEyes platform…
Children in a primary school prioritised car parking for parents as they dropped their children off to school.
On discussion of the issue with the school council they realized how difficult it would be to sort out this problem considering the lack of road space and the difficulties involved in parking in the school.
On learning of the dangers of air pollution from idling cars they wanted to consider other alternatives. With some help they found out about walking buses and are now investigating how they could introduce this to the school as an alternative to the parking problem.
They are currently wanting to crowdsource this with parents and are investigating where children can be safely dropped off to join a walking bus.
Locking the Doors
We were introduced to a young person in Year 9 who was a member of the school council. Her and her class were very concerned because the school toilet doors had no locks.
This meant they had to go to the toilet in pairs so they could take it in turns to guard the door for each other. They put ‘fix the toilet doors’ as an idea for action on VocalEyes and it quickly emerged as a priority.
The School Council raised this at their meeting with senior management but unfortunately there was no money in the school budget to fix the doors at this time.
The young people continued to make this idea a top priority and kept raising the issue in school. This September the young person was so happy – when she returned to school the doors had new locks.
Sport and Dance for All
Children in a Carmarthenshire school wanted more sport and dance in the curriculum. There were so many comments from the children explaining why they wanted this the school felt they couldn’t ignore it.
In response the head prioritized the appointment of new teaching assistants with sports coaching skills and a specialist dance teacher who took up their jobs in September.
Already the head has seen a difference. The children are enjoying the opportunities to get involved in dance and improve their rugby skills.
The benefits of having specialists supporting the children are already apparent and bode well for future fixtures!
The local Welsh Assembly Member was invited to one of his local primary schools to see how the School Council were carrying out the job of approving ideas and comments on VocalEyes. This is part of the digital etiquette children learn using the platform.
He was impressed when he observed the children wrestling with a comment they were not happy with. A member of the support staff had been mentioned by name in relation to something that wasn’t working very well in an after-school club.
The children had decided it was not appropriate to name people, and that it wasn’t fair that one member of staff had been blamed for something that was clearly a group responsibility.
They decided not to approve the comment and spoke to the head teacher about it. The head privately spoke to the child who had made the comment and explained why it wasn’t going to go live and offered him the opportunity to re-write it without naming anyone.
Going Plastic Free
Children in a primary school in Swansea started the school year by finding out the stainless steel bottles they had raised the money to buy had arrived.
The previous year the juniors had rated ‘going plastic-free’ as a top priority for their school. ‘Blue Planet 2’ had inspired them, and this was the beginning of their journey to investigate plastics and their use in the school.
The Year 6 class identified the free milk provided for the Foundation Phase as a target for plastic reduction. They worked it out that in Swansea over 5 million a year of these 150ml bottles were used. Their idea to solve the problem is to persuade the providers of milk to supply milk in 4 litre bottles and for every child in Foundation Phase to have their own stainless steel bottle to drink from.
They are still engaged in their campaign to change how milk is supplied, and meanwhile every child is cutting down plastic use with their stainless steel bottles!
A girl in Year 4 introduced an idea onto the VocalEyes platform. She was a vegan but there were rarely vegan options on the school menu.
Other children in the school supported her idea and it became a priority. Some of the school council went to visit the kitchen and talked to the staff.
They hadn’t realized they didn’t cater for vegans and the idea was put into action straight away.
The girl was delighted that her idea from suggestion to action had only taken one day!
Feed the Homeless
Children and Young People across Cardiff prioritised homelessness as an area for action if Cardiff is to become a Child-friendly-City. They made lots of suggestions of what could be done.
On the day of the Grand Council a group of young people went and found homeless people to give them pizza that had been ordered for their lunch but not eaten.
They came back full of excitement by the positive way the pizzas had been received by those living on the streets.
They had talked to the homeless and listened to their stories and were more enthused than ever to try and make a difference.
Allotments for All
Residents in a rural community using VocalEyes Community Voice had identified allotments as a priority. The local school head teacher saw the priority and was keen to help.
Children in the school wanted to be involved in growing food and the PTA was always looking for ways to raise money.
The result is allotments are being established in the school grounds. A group of parents in the community have taken responsibility for managing the plots; children will help with growing the plants knowing some of the food will appear on their plates in the school canteen.
Veg boxes will be sold by the PTA to raise money for the school – everyone is happy.