At the start of the Changemaker Program, Emma was concerned about the climate at her school. Their 2016 data set off alarm bells for Emma; only 20% of students felt connected at school, and only 4.5% of students said they felt safe. She believes in a school where the whole community feels safe and connected, and she had some work to do! Emma and her team decided that they wanted to give students a voice and to help them care about school. Without a Student Representative Council already in place at school, Emma landed on the development of a council as a great place to start, calling it Student Voice.
Emma and her team helped their colleagues elect a student class representative for Student Voice from each class. These students have weekly meetings where they can share the ideas and challenges that have come up that week for their class.
The group of students has a presence in the school in a number of ways. They decided to fundraise some money for some new sporting equipment by running a school disco, there are whole school displays about student voice that are up around the school, inquiry units about ‘community’ are being run by teachers in some classrooms, clubs have returned at lunch times, and the whole school is now using Trello for task management.
14 students are currently in Student Voice, and Emma and her team look forward to giving even more children an opportunity to represent their peers next year.
Excitingly, the survey data around school connectedness has shown a massive improvement for students in Emma’s school. In 2016 only 20% of students felt connected at school, whereas in 2017 this now sits at 75%! Amazing!
“Two students not in Student Voice approached us about running a soccer club and a dodgeball club. They’d like to run it so the initiatives are student led, even though they aren’t student reps. So the positive vibes are spreading beyond the core group of students in Student Voice!”
Like the idea?
Emma would love your support for Student Voice, or for you to start a similar program in your school, and she’d love to hear about any ideas you have or lend a hand where she can. Shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to get in touch with Emma and we can connect you. Feel free to cheer her on in the comments below as well.
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