School Council - 1967

 

 

1967

Chairman: S. Cook
Secretary : A. J. Wilson

The School Council was founded so that the elected represen-tatives of the boys of the School could put forward, and discuss matters concerning the general running of the School or any other matters of importance connected with the School. Boys were elected because of their ability to discuss intelligently and sincerely any proposals given to them by their Form for discussion at a meeting of the Council. The Council held precedence over any other School activity. It held more power and responsibility than any other body of boys in the School. It was the means by which any member of the School could yet his views or recommendations discussed and passed to the Headmaster and Staff.
Why is it then, that the Council (which used to hold so much power) has sunk to its present level ?
Why is it that the majority of the School (including many representatives) are so completely apathetic towards the Council? Why do some representatives attend other clubs, meeting on the same night as the Council, rather than represent their form in the Council? Why is it that the majority of forms rely on a boy volunteering to go to the Council, rather than electing a representative ? Why is it that members of the School rarely get to hear of the business discussed at a Council meeting ?
There are many factors which could be blamed for this, the most notable being the Form election. Forms should elect someone who would really represent them, and put forward their views in the Council. A Form-meeting should be held a few days before a Council meeting so that the representative can find out what the views of his Form are. On the day after the meeting, the repre-sentative should report back to his Form all business discussed at the Council meeting.
The Council should strive to regain the position of power that it was intended it should hold. The apathetic nature of so many representatives must not be tolerated. Steps are being taken to rid the Council of this appalling uninterest. A motion has recently been passed saying that any member of the Council who is absent from two meetings in succession without informing the secretary beforehand, or without a reasonable excuse, will be expelled from the Council. At the beginning of the Spring Term, the previous secretary was sacked because he had shown himself unwilling to accept the responsibility of the position. The new chairman has done away with the tiresome formality that was the hallmark of the previous Councils, and debates have become lively and in-formal. Interest in the Council is slowly being aroused and any attempt to arouse it further must be encouraged. This year could prove a turning-point in the history of the School Council, and, if the Council is going to continue to exist, it must be a turning--point.
Representatives should ask themselves if they really do repre-sent. Forms should ask themselves if their representatives really do represent, and, if the answer is in the negative (as in the large majority of cases it would be) they must do their utmost to ensure that the position is remedied immediately. At the moment, the responsibility of thinking up motions and matters for discussion is carried almost invariably by one or two members of the Council, and this is undermining the basic idea of the Council, that of representation.
It appears traditional that in his report for the Monovian, the secretary of the School Council automatically refutes criticisms levelled at the Council. In the Christmas 1966 edition of the Monovian the following sentence appeared: "The School Council has been wrongly criticised for the high degree of formality that is characteristic of its meetings". This is not a wrong criticism. It is perfectly correct. The Council does have far too much formality. How can you expect a First Former to get up and speak to the Council when he is held in awe by the needless formality? The Council consists of boys who have left junior schools less than a year ago as well as young men soon entering university. Far more will be discussed, and far more satisfactory decisions reached if the debates are kept as informal as possible.
During the last few meetings debates have become more informal: the right atmosphere for discussion is beginning to emerge. The leaders of the Council are doing their utmost to improve its standards. The Council was started for the benefit of the boys of the School . . . and only with their backing can it hope to retain its position.
A. J. Wilson, 6iiG.

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