STUDENTS from across the south west came together to share their ideas and learn from each other at a Student Voice Conference.

Children varied in age from primary through to secondary and were from Budmouth Academy, Bovington Academy and Atlantic Academy, Portland, which are all schools in the Aspirations Academies Trust (AAT).

They were joined by pupils from AAT schools on the south coast for the conference at Magna Academy in Bournemouth.

Students were given the opportunity to work with students from other academies and share what they do at their own academy.

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Andy David, director of student leadership and engagement at Aspirations Academies Trust, organised the conference.

He said it was a successful day filled with collaboration, fun and engagement: "This conference allows students to share their voices in a collaborative environment, something that has been sorely missing over the last two years because of Covid-19.

"Research has shown students are more likely to be motivated to learn if they feel they are being listened to. Our academies have various ways of fostering student voice.

"Transformative education is best accomplished together – by students and teachers actively listening to one another with mutual trust and respect, learning side by side."

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Improvements the students said they wanted to see in their schools included: more inspiring quotes on the walls around their academy, more creative clubs, rewarding good students that do the right thing all the time, more activities at the start of the academic year to create a sense of belonging. Some students also asked to be more involved in their local coastal community through beach cleans.

Commenting on the day, one student said: "The student voice conference gave me the chance to make new friends, I enjoyed seeing a different school and I liked having the opportunity to express my views.’’

Sara White, principal at Bovington Academy said: "The children had such a great day - ours came back full of ideas and excitement.’’

Lesley Bishop, principal of Atlantic Academy Portland, added: "My students have come back ready to take on the world! It was a great day.’’