Meet your boarding school family: The Student Council
At some UK schools, there is a Student Council – a group of students that works with teachers to address issues affecting the school community.
We meet four members of the Student Council, and international students, at Bosworth Independent College – a co-educational boarding school in Northampton, England, with around 320 students aged 14 to 19.
Tammy Odekunle from Nigeria, Student Council President
'Right from my first day in Bosworth College, I knew that I wanted to stand out. I campaigned to be a member of the Student Council and nominated myself for the role of Vice President, which I won. In New Year 2015, I became the President.
'The Student Council is the voice of the entire student population and as President, I am the mediator between students and staff. When any issue arises in school, I meet with the rest of the Student Council to discuss it. Then I go with one or two other Council members (usually the Vice President) to meet the Principal to find a mutual solution.
'Our job also involves organising school and charity events, from a Culture Day, when we all put on our national outfits; to the annual Spring Fling, a themed party at the end of the spring term. Last year it was a masquerade ball. We got a DJ, set up a photo booth and decorated the hall black and gold. The night was a great success!
'Our Student Council meets every Friday. Other departments are welcome to attend our meetings if they have a message they would like us to pass to the students.
'Being President carries a lot of responsibility, and you need students to trust you. I am generally always smiling and I have a bubbly personality – I want other students to feel they can come to me with any issues, even if they’re just having a bad day. We also have a suggestion box so students can raise concerns anonymously, if they prefer.'
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'It’s a lot of hard work, but being President has not affected my school work in any negative way. Student Council meetings are after school hours so I don’t miss any classes, while meetings with teachers are usually during break time. We have at least two representatives from every year group so the workload does not become overwhelming.
'I have honestly loved every minute of being President; I feel I am part of a team that is having an impact on the school and making students' lives better and more comfortable. I am more confident, my interpersonal skills have improved and I am more aware of other cultures because our school is so international. This is going to help me a lot at university and in the future as I can add it to my CV.
'When I go to university, I hope I can become the president of a student society there too!'
Menzi Khumalo from Swaziland, Student Councillor
'I was voted in as a member of the Student Council by other students who are on Bosworth Independent College’s University Foundation Programme – a course that allows school graduates from the age of 17 to do a final year of school to prepare for university in the UK.
'I’ve helped set up charity fundraisers, social events including discos and proms, and longer-running student activities such as pilates classes and a rock music group.
'My role has required time and dedication, but the experience is all worth it because I’ve been able to get to know students from different cultures, countries and backgrounds, and we all support each other and work together to make these events happen.
'I also do Tea Duty, providing refreshments during break times for students and staff. This allows me to make a little extra pocket money (for this, I had to have a student visa allowing me to work in the UK and also get a national insurance number).'
'I am a keen sports player and attend most of the sports sessions – badminton, basketball, football, volleyball and more. They’re another great way to have an enjoyable end to your day, meet different people and also engage in activities that involve teamwork, skill, fun and a little bit of competition. I feel that my teammates respect and support me – yet another thing that makes school feel like home.
'The most fascinating thing about studying here is the diversity and range of different cultures and the warm, caring friendliness of both the staff and students. I also like the fact that classes are quite small, so it is easy to approach your teacher if you have difficulty in a certain subject.
'Coming from Africa, the UK lifestyle is both different and similar in various ways. I feel as though I have found my home away from home.
'The UK is a lovely place to study as it nurtures and embraces international students like myself and helps you to reach your full potential.'
Edward Liu from China, Student Councillor
'As a member of the Student Council, I am basically a bridge between students and school teachers and staff. During our weekly meetings, my team and I will discuss an issue or a problem that lots of students are facing so we can report it to the Principal.
'I came to Bosworth Independent College in the summer of 2012. It was the start of my life studying abroad and before I came, I thought it would be really tough to live with a language barrier and no family around – as well as the jetlag at the start!
'But I realised I was wrong as soon as I started. Every member of staff is friendly and patient.
'After two years studying here, I joined the Student Council so I could be part of the supportive atmosphere even more.
'I’ve enjoyed participating in every event with the Student Council, such as the Christmas Party and the Children In Need Day for charity.
'The most enjoyable part of being a member of the Student Council is representing other students. It has improved my organisation ability and my ability to communicate, and I believe it will help me when applying for university.'
Daniela Marques Pinhal Tico from Mexico, Student Councillor
'I am taking Bosworth’s one-year GCSE programme, and am currently the student representative for my group.
'I work side-by-side with different students from each year group on the Student Council to represent the others on my course. Our main role is to speak on behalf of the students to the school's management and organise different events.
'I never thought of studying abroad until my previous Principal talked to me about the potential I had to get a scholarship.
'After studying for long hours in order to achieve outstanding grades, I started doing the paperwork to study in the UK and before I knew it, I was packing my bags and saying goodbye to Mexico.
'I like the educational system here, and the opportunities for students to be good leaders and to delegate. I feel my UK school is helping me to forge my way to success.
'In a couple of years, I see myself travelling around the world learning about different cultures and new languages and enjoying life to the fullest.
'My recommendation for anyone thinking of studying in the UK is: do it!'