The School Council system at Mill Hill is a fully developed and important aspect of school life, which ensures that pupils have a say in exactly what matters to them the most.
The opportunity for interaction between pupils, teachers and other adults through the various School Councils has a positive impact on relationships, attainment and discipline; high levels of pupil involvement and care help pupils feel better integrated and motivated at Mill Hill.
It is these essential underlying principles which provide the basis for the current School Council system and contribute to the unique sense of community within the Mill Hill School Foundation.
Full School Council
The primary aim of the Full School Council is to improve the quality of school life. The other councils support the Full School Council, and any changes or decisions that these councils wish to make are normally addressed through the Full School Council. House Focus Weeks, during which key issues are addressed through whole school assemblies, Chapels and in House, support the process.
The Full School Council is run by the pupils, notably the Senior Monitors, together with the Principal Deputy Head. The Council consists of ten House representatives (one from each house) along with representatives from the Anti-Bullying and Mentor Council (ABMC), boarders, day pupils and other groups in the school.
Elections for membership of the Full School Council take place early in the Autumn term of each academic year.
What the council achieved in 2014/15
In 2014/15 the Full School Council discussed ways in which the Mill Hill experience can be further enhanced. Issues such as improving the School's wi-fi connection were drawn attention to and quickly solved. The main agenda for the Council was reviewing and updating the 'Expectations and Standards' document and the new IT policy and protocol documents. The Council’s aim was to ensure that both documents fully reflect our expectations for the acceptable use of technology, within the context of our ever-changing digital world, and pupil behaviour in and around the School. In addition, the Council also considered broader issues, including respect, equality and personal responsibility. The focus for 2015/16 is on promoting Emotional Wellbeing and support for pupils with Mental Health concerns. A pupil focus group has been set up to look specifically at identifying key issues, to raise awareness of these amongst the pupils and to develop initiatives to address the points raised.
Anti-Bullying and Mentor Council (ABMC)
The aim of the Council is to meet to discuss issues that have arisen relating to the general welfare of pupils and to promote the general welfare of pupils within their Houses as well as in and around the school. The Council attempts to develop strategies to combat bullying and loneliness. The Council also plays a key role in inducting new pupils into the school. The Council also endeavours to develop a supportive environment in which all pupils are respected.
What the pupils achieved in 2014/15
The Anti Bullying and Mentor Council focused on promoting the general welfare of pupils and is developing further strategies for dealing with bullying and loneliness. They played a key role in inducting new pupils and helped develop a supportive environment in which all pupils are respected. They will also be involved in a review of the induction process to improve the start of the school year and settling in process for all new pupils. The group also organised a Non – Uniform day and Cake Sale in support of Childline which raised over £1000. This was part of the focus of National Anti – Bullying week in November and featured a Chapel presentation to every pupil in the School and the completion of a Bullying Survey by Lower School pupils and discussion of how to tackle bullying in Sixth Form tutor time.
Fourth Form Council
Six weeks after joining Mill Hill as our youngest pupils, each of the Fourth Form Tutor groups elects a representative to sit on the Fourth Form Council. This group meets two or three times each term to allow the views of our most junior pupils to have an individual voice and. In particular, seeks to identify and then solve commonly experienced problems or difficulties. It also provides the first opportunity for the ten Council members to take on a position of responsibility and leadership and, at the end of their first year, involve themselves in delivering a PSHRE lesson to their peers about how best to act as mentors to the following year’s new Fourth Form entrants.
What the pupils achieved in 2014/15
The Fourth Form Council has ensured that the youngest members of the School have had the opportunity to voice their opinions. They have made recommendations and asked questions on areas as diverse as homework, football, a request for cookery classes and for more chances to get involved in Debating. They have responded positively and with appreciation to aspects of School life that have been new to them and were also exceptionally helpful and committed Tour Guides at our Open Morning in late April.
The Boarding, Day and Café 6 Food Councils meet regularly throughout the year and continue to mould the menus at Mill Hill School, adding variety to breakfast, lunch, supper and the morning breaks by suggesting informed and seasonal variations and good ideas to keep the service offer inviting. In response to the Boarders’ survey, a Food Summit was convened to address dietary issues, mainly focused on how pupils can achieve a balanced diet, with a key outcome involving the reduction in the amount of sugary food items available. In addition, the pupils continue to play an important role in the design and organisation of the menus and venue layout for special events and have significant input into the increasingly popular themed nights.
The ‘School Staff’ are the Monitors and the Prefects. The Monitors are the Heads of House, (ten pupils) and the Prefects (circa 30 pupils). There are also three Senior Monitors, one boy and one girl from the Day community and one Senior Monitor from the Boarding community.
The School Staff lead by example in all aspects of School life. The key function of the School Staff is to demonstrate leadership qualities and to be role models for pupils throughout the School, but particularly those in the Lower School. As a joint body, the School Staff are the senior representatives of the School on formal occasions such as Foundation Day, Open Mornings and our Service of Remembrance in November each year. They help to run the school smoothly on a day-to-day basis, for example by supervising pupils in and out of Chapel and Assembly, and in the lunch queue making sure that everyone is treated fairly and with respect, doing so in a friendly and approachable manner.
Sixth Form Council
The aim of this Sixth Form Council is to give senior pupils a voice on issues relating to life in the Sixth Form at Mill Hill. It also helps organise educational visits and trips. Another role of the society is to help integrate new Sixth Form pupils, both boarders and day, into the Mill Hill Community.
The Sixth Form Council has worked with enormous commitment and enthusiasm to improve Sixth Form facilities, privileges and social activities. This has included formulating plans to redecorate the main Common Room area as well as reviewing the provision of Sixth Form Study Facilities in addition to the food offer in both the Sixth Form Common Room and Café 6. There have been a number of other areas where Sixth Form ideas have been implemented, notably the improved support provided for Sixth Formers by the Careers department and Old Millhillians’ Club in obtaining Work Experience; improvements in parking facilities; changes in car use privileges for boarders and new ideas for the Valedictory Service and Leavers’ celebrations. The Committee was also involved in the refinement of the newly introduced ‘Sixth Form Merit’ and contributed to the review of ‘Expectations and Standards’, making valuable suggestions on the use of electronic organisers to record and plan work.
Containing significant input from the Boarders’ Council, a full survey to elicit boarders’ views across a wide variety of areas took place at the start of the year. As a result of suggestions made, the School’s Internet Provision for boarders is now under review for 2015-16 and already new algorithms have been put into place so that more bandwidth is given to browsing/Skype over watching video content in order to help prevent drop outs on call quality. With food also under the spotlight, menus have been revamped to replace some of the sugary items served at breakfast and supper with exciting, but healthier options, and dedicated theme nights are taking place at weekends. In the Spring term, the Annual Boarders’ Charity Concert, was a wonderful evening of entertainment which raised over £600 for the Philippines Boat Initiative. The evening displayed the boarding community’s talents to the full and included pieces performed on the erhu and guzheng, as well as classical favourites and indie anthems. Council members are now in the process of organising Induction events for the Autumn term, considering in particular, ways in which they can offer a warm welcome to our new fellow boarders from MMHI who are arriving in September.
What the pupils achieved in 2014/15
Containing significant input from the Boarders’ Council, a full survey to elicit boarders’ views across a wide variety of areas took place at the start of the year. As a result of suggestions made, the School’s Internet Provision for boarders is now under review for 2015-16. Menus have also been revamped to replace some of the sugary items served at breakfast and supper with exciting, but healthier options, and dedicated theme nights are taking place at weekends. In the Spring term, the Annual Boarders’ Charity Concert raised £600 for the Philippines Boat Initiative and Council members are now looking forward to supporting the induction of new boarders who are joining from our new International school in September.
The Mill Hill School Motto emphasises the importance of developing a virtuous character and the spiritual aspect is integral to this aspiration. Chaired by the School Chaplain, the Spirituality Committee has student representatives from across the faith spectrum. It plays a central part in ensuring that the spirituality of all pupils, of ‘all faiths or none’, is developed.
The spiritual dimension of life transcends religious beliefs. It is concerned with the ‘inner life’ and the flourishing of each individual human spirit. Yet a natural expression of human spirituality is religious faith and practice, and a crucial part of the work of the committee is to ensure that religious difference is respected and celebrated in creative ways within the school community. Each term the committee organises and presents Interfaith Assemblies, engaging with moral and spiritual issues that are relevant to all students. The committee also engages a range of outside speakers to inform discussion and debate on important moral, religious and spiritual issues, thereby helping pupils to mature into fully grounded young adults.