Authentic Student Voice - Student Representative Council

Radford SRC

Radford SRC

By Claire Melloy, Director of Student Development

Currently the importance of an authentic student voice is acknowledged in many domains, from OECD reports to Lady Gaga?s Born This Way Foundation which uses the slogan ?Empowering Youth Inspiring Bravery.?

?Voice? in this context is not simply about the opportunity to communicate ideas and opinions; it is about having the power to influence change.

?Only if we offer the best to students will we get the best. And it means a school ethos focused on student needs, with the whole school team taking time to find out the needs and interests of the students, with students listened to and their voice used to drive whole school improvements.?

OECD, 2006, Schooling for Tomorrow

All students in Years 7?12 have recently completed an Australian Council of Educational Research (ACER) Social and Emotional Wellbeing Survey in order for the college to hear their collective voice. The data collected from the survey will be used to make decisions in relation to providing relevant age-appropriate pastoral care programs for our students.

In addition, many researchers point to the importance of linking student voice with action, arguing that an ?authentic? student voice is not simply to provide data for others to make decisions, but that it should encourage young people?s active participation in shared decision-making and consequent actions.

At Radford, this active participation is widespread. A recent addition to the number of opportunities for students is the newly established Year 7?12 Student Representative Council (SRC) led by Year 12 student Ananya Kaza.

Research shows that when schools engage student voice in avenues such as SRCs they create opportunities to facilitate a stronger sense of:

  • respect
  • agency
  • belonging
  • community values
  • citizenship, social inclusion and social responsibility.

Year 12 student Ananya Kaza leads the SRC, and is the Year 12 SRC Prefect. Ananya says she has been asked about the role of the SRC with questions such as 'Do you guys actually do anything?' and 'What happens at meetings?' Ananya responds:

?My answer to these questions is that we stand for Student Representative Council. Together we stand to represent the opinions of all students and work with teachers to implement necessary changes around the school. This is done through the meetings where we plan, organise and then do. Watch out, because SRC is going to take the school by a storm of changes and student voice!?

?As an individual this is a huge responsibility and I plan to make many mistakes, learn loads and have heaps of fun on this journey with these AMAZING kids and the staff of Radford College including the gracious Ms Melloy,? Ananya says.

Ananya has prepared these facts for the Bulletin about the SRC and recent ideas from students:

  • Students were asked what characteristics best suit them individually. The top answers were: enthusiastic, creative, open-minded, problem solver and team player. This is a great indicator of the team for 2015.
  • There are 78 SRC members across the whole secondary school.
  • Students were asked about why the SRC is important. The top answers were: to establish an authentic student voice; to create a better connection with the teachers; and student representation.
  • The students have come up with the idea to have a group A and group B which will meet on alternating Tuesdays. Within these groups, students will be taking up group projects about which they are passionate. On the whole we will be working together to take the school by storm and create a loud and clear student voice!
  • Radford students have this to say about the SRC:
      • ?The SRC is a leader who represents their peers and ideas. They lead and guide other students to work together to achieve the vision and goals of the school as well as provide imperative support and advice to other students.? Shreya Mago (Y8)
      • ?The SRC is important because it provides and gives the students the opportunity to have their voice heard on matters concerning the college.? Finn Clarke (Y7)
      • ?It gives a lot of students a chance to show their leadership and learn more on how to be a good leader and enhance that skill.? Taylor Colvin (Y9)

Our SRC is currently listening to their respective year levels, reporting back to the group and planning a number of interesting and exciting initiatives. ?Don?t just talk about it. Be about it.?

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