Following a Learn to lead training, a teacher at a primary school in Bath and North East Somerset began a discussion with 3 boys in key stage 1 about playtimes. Concerns about their behaviour, refusal to attend school and social isolation were transformed into positive outcomes for the whole school after the boys were asked what they like and dislike about playtimes and for their ideas about how they could be improved.

The teacher produced a case study that sets out how they moved from this initial conversation to forming a ‘Playground Talking Gang’ and making changes, and how this transformed their whole relationship with school. Some extracts from the case study are given here.

The boys talked about who they would need to speak to and why some of their ideas might not be able to happen. They decided to go and see what ‘stuff’ was already available and talked about which would be good to use and why. They sought the views of the other children on whether to have different things out each day and made a laminated list which they decided to put up in the cloakroom for all the children to see and in the shed so they knew which equipment to get out each day. They also came up with some rules …

  • You have to keep the stuff on the playground bit.
  • Yes cos then if you’re climbing on the bridge in the woods, you won’t get hit by the equipment.
  • You have to be careful with the ropes…don’t put them around anyone’s neck. Oh and don’t tie anyone up either cos that’s not nice or I wouldn’t like that.
The teacher’s perspective:

“I think Learn to Lead is a fantastic way of empowering children. The children love being in a “team” and making the decisions. It is a very exciting way of working as you are led so much by the children and their ideas; you never know where you will end up! The boys quickly developed a sense of pride in their work as part of ‘The Playground Talking Gang’. They have spoken to both KS1 and KS2 classes about this project and explained their ideas clearly and with confidence. These were boys who we were struggling to come to school. Now they are thoroughly enjoying being in a role of responsibility each day.”