The school committee meets at least once a quarter and make obligatory proclamation of the results on the elections of the representatives of the students’ parents. The director of the school or at least half of the committee members may request an extraordinary meeting.
School committee duties include that during these meetings, outside the agenda, the conditions of the meeting can be clarified, functioning of the school and set dates for meetings between parents and teachers. At the end of each meeting of the school committee, a report of the meeting is drawn up and signed by his President and countersigned by the Recording Secretary. These minutes are included to a special register and kept at school. One of the copies is posted in a place accessible to all of the parents of the current students.
At the end of the school year, the director draws up a report on all the questions addressed during the year, particular about the implementation of the school projects, and the follow-up given to the advice has been formulated.
School surveys are needed in the framework of a new paradigm of participation in school life and citizen education. For some political scientists, our contemporary societies are undergoing an important transition, characterized in particular by an increased power of intervention individuals on the issues that concern them. This transformation does not fail to question the concept of citizenship.
Recently, participation in school life has been included as an object in its own design and school curriculum. According to the latest basic survey three main goals are associated with participation:
- to equip students with a political culture;
- acquire the attitudes and values deemed necessary for life in society;
- actively participate in the management and regulation of collective life starting with that of the school.
In the latter case, the student counseling system is presented as a participatory structure that spreads to schools, primary education.
In many countries, schools are formally invited to involve students in the development of democratic projects, to encourage active participation in internal decisions and electing representatives. Classroom students’ councils as places of exchange and expression interests are widespread from the primary level.
So why do we need school surveys?
Formal surveys have been set up, often largely dependent on national sensitivities and fluctuations in public policies. Whatever the interest of these investigations, we will first show the very insufficient character for a detailed knowledge of the frequency of the phenomenon. The comparison between the official statistics and the local surveys in schools shows a dramatic shift.
Official sources remain relatively rare, little followed and most often unreliable, although the lack of knowledge is sometimes mitigated by independent investigations. Further on, accounting for school issues must not only take into account the frequency of the phenomenon but also its repetitive nature. Thus the inadequacy of official statistics has been demonstrated.
Moreover, school surveys, unlike other official surveys, are based not on statements of the administration but on more reliable self-reports studies.
Types of school surveys
One of the most important school surveys covers the research on the quality of life at schools. The research has been interested in the well-being of students in school through the analysis of their living environment in schools.
If the research is abundant on many dimensions (relations between students and teachers, pedagogical practices, sense of security, etc), two areas of the student’s living environment, crucial for their daily lives, are today, little explored: school restoration and architecture.
These two themes are the responsibility of the local authorities, but also engage in the organization and pedagogical establishments. On the lower level they are the school committee duties.
Tips on conducting the school survey
Instead of having to contact randomly selected people, the school survey should cover a large number of students in one session. Young people will more easily admit to illicit or ill-considered behavior in a school setting only at home. The results of several surveys indicate that young people confess less easily at home than at school on the majority of the topics asked, whether in a face-to-face interview or even on the phone.
Students seem to think that information collected in schools will be more confidential than if they answered a questionnaire or were questioned in the privacy of their home, while their parents may be present or in the next room.
In school settings, the data collection mode is relatively easy to standardize and to control. If the school staff has the confidence of the students – which this is the case in many countries – teachers and other categories of staff – for example the school nurse – can administer tests and questionnaires to students and then hand them over to the research institute.