We’ve come up with a step by step guide of how to get your cluster up and running.
Check out the steps below and download our guide for more details.
A step by Step guide for setting up a cluster in your school
1. Propose the idea of a meeting or training day for local students or Student Representative Teams and get agreement from your Student Representative Team. Set up a small organising committee.
2. Find support from teachers, the local council, youth services or your area LLEN. Define what support you need – and what you want them to do.
3. Clear the proposal with the school administration and negotiate a suitable date and spaces. Book rooms.
4. Draw up a list of the local schools you want involved. You should include all relevant schools.
5. Send out invitations well in advance – at least one month before the day. Things to consider: How many people from each school? Will there be a charge to cover lunch or refreshments? How long? (Remember to allow for travel time).
6. Work out an agenda – what do you want to cover on the day? How do you want students to share experiences and information?
7. Send out the agenda with a reminder notice approximately two weeks before the date.
8. Organise workshops and a large group session to consider any action proposals from workshop groups.
9. Plan for what you will do with the outcomes of the day – how will you follow these up? Do you need to set up some ongoing group of students on the proposals, to keep these ideas going?
10. If there is general agreement to the proposal to set up an ongoing Cluster (maybe you need to propose this formally and ask each school if it will support the idea), ask each school to then nominate one or two (or more)
people to form an ‘interim Cluster committee’. Students might have to take the idea back to their Student Representative Team to formally decide whether to be part of it. This small group meets briefly to set a meeting time, and swap contact details.
11. Set a meeting date for the first Cluster meeting, perhaps about two weeks away. One school offers to host, convene and chair the meeting (and send out reminders). Work out a suitable time – it could be after school or during school hours.
12. At this first meeting, talk about why you want a local network, and what it could do. What are your goals? How will you work? Who will be involved?
13. Ask each school to formally appoint Cluster liaisons or members who will come to meetings or keep in touch.
14. Set a meeting and task schedule for the Cluster. There will be things to follow up from each meeting such as action on common problems.
15. Identify people who can help you organise – by sending out notices, organising a place to meet, assisting with transport.
16. Set up some communication links with the schools involved in your Cluster, such as a Cluster newsletter, to keep all the schools and all students in touch with what’s happening and opportunities to be involved.