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Pupil Empowerment in Schools: Limits and Possibilities

Geoff Whitty* and Emma Wisby

Introduction

In this chapter we have chosen to focus on pupil voice and the extent to which it can support greater democracy in schools. Building on a long-standing interest in this issue (Gleeson Whitty 1976), we recently conducted a review for the UK government on provision for pupil voice in schools in England. By pupil voice we are referring to the involvement of pupils in school decision-making—either directly or through mechanisms like school councils and democratically elected forums of pupils who represent their peers. The kind of decisions that pupils might influence include, for example, which equipment to purchase for their school or—particularly ...

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