Student voice in education planning


Including the voice of children and young people in their education planning by strengthening educator and parent capacity to support students with goal setting and achievement.

Measure of success

Integration of student voice, wellbeing and signature strengths, as well as achievement of goals.

All measures

  • Student perceived wellbeing
  • Parent and teacher wellbeing, engagement, empowerment, and sense of hope
  • Parent and teacher applied learning
  • Integration of student voice
  • Student achievement of goals

Partner schools

  • Punchbowl Public School
  • Bankstown South Infants School
  • Chalmers Road School

External partners

  • Dr. Annick Janson and Sylvana Mahmic, Plumtree Children’s Services

  • Dr. Peggy Kern, University of Melbourne

  • Dr. Tim Moore, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute


Staff, parents and students at three schools have been using pictures to help students have a voice in creating their Individual Education Plans (IEPs).

IEPs are used by staff in many school environments to map the learning goals of students with all kinds of disability or additional learning needs, but a recent CYDA National Education Survey found only 36.4% of families were involved in developing their child’s plan.

Partnering with external organisation Plumtree, Punchbowl Public School, Bankstown South Infants School and Chalmers Road School are trialling a new approach which involves all parents and students in the IEP process, even if children are non-verbal.

At set points while creating their plans, non-verbal students are presented with a series of cards using the tool Pictability. Students choose from these and pick them up to give staff and their family a better idea of what is enjoyable and meaningful to them.

At Bankstown South Infants School, many students have autism, intellectual disability or a developmental delay which often means they are non-verbal or struggle with focus and attention. Even though their students are only four or five years old, staff have been able to include their voices in learning alongside those of their parents and educators through the new approach.

Bankstown South Early Intervention Teacher Judy Chan said it allows students to have a voice beyond what their parents want them to like or their teachers want them to know.

“Children learn best when we can plan learning around their goals and interests,” Ms Chan said. “We’re excited about giving our students a voice, we never want to underestimate how far they can go.”

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