A short history of RETNS student council

Some of our parents have expressed an interest in knowing more about the history of the Student Council in RETNS. Our records date back to 2000 when the idea for a student council first came about. A lot of work was done at the time in drawing up the Rules and Constitution for the student council. At the time students looked at the constitution of other student councils and adapted these to their own school. There was a debate about the name, which in the end came down to a choice between Kidz Kouncil and South City Students Council, as the school was then called South City School Project. The Rules and Constitution were re-drafted in November 2003 and the student council was renamed Rathfarnham Educate Together Student Council.

At the time of the formation of the student council the pupils drafted a set of aims for the student council and then decided on the most appropriate of these. The final choice of aims for the student council was:
a) To learn about how democracy works.
b) To represent the children in the school and let them take part in the running of the school.
c) To give children a voice.
d) To sort out problems.
e) To come up with new ideas for new activities, clubs and also fund-raising.
Membership was inclusive in that all children in the school were deemed to be members of the student council. Each year a student council committee is elected from among the student body, to consist of 12 children and a co-ordinating teacher. In the original Rules and Constitution document the students set down the rules for election, the officers they would have on their student council, their responsibilities and term of office. They also drew up a section on ‘Changes to the Constitution’, outlining that change may only be made by referendum and must be carried by 75% of voters.
A lot of work went into the setting up of the student council by the students of 2000 and these rules and Constitution still govern the student council today.
The first meeting of elected members of the student council took place on Monday 10th April, 2000. Over the years members of RETNS student council have contacted their counterparts in other Educate Together schools, either by visit or letter, they have raised considerable amounts of money for worthy causes of their choice, they have sent letters to newspapers and to public figures, they have helped to bring about many of the changes that students require, they have taken on responsibilities and challenges which have helped them grow and mature, and , above all, they have succeeded in achieving their primary aim, which is, in the words of one student council member in a letter to Galway Educate Together Student Council, “to get all of the children’s voices and opinions heard”.