My Say My Way developed accessible ways for students with disability to provide feedback on their learning and experiences at school.
The department has worked with 24 schools to develop and trial three accessible methods of capturing feedback from students with moderate and high support needs about their education.
- Body mapping
- Three accessible online surveys catering to different support needs.
The trial was done in partnership with the University of New South Wales. Students were asked what they liked about school, how and what they learned, their relationships with staff and other students, life after school and more.
A world-leading student voice initiative
My Say My Way was run on a world-leading scale and provided unprecedented insights into the educational experiences of students with moderate and high support needs. The tools developed for this trial address a gap in NSW, Australia, and world-wide in ways to enable students with moderate and high support needs to have a voice about their education.
The trial provides comprehensive information for the first time in NSW about the views and opinions of students with moderate and high support needs on their education and what they would like to see in their schools.
Data gathered during the trial showed students with moderate and high support needs liked their school, enjoyed learning new things and felt included socially at school.
Schools involved gave feedback that it was the first time they were hearing such detailed responses from some students. School staff are now taking on board this feedback in their classroom planning.
Supporting inclusion in schools
Giving students a voice is an important part of student agency and self-determination, one of six principles highlighted in the department’s Inclusive Education Statement for students with disability as essential in embedding inclusive practice in schools.
My Say My Way supports our Disability Strategy commitment to “improve measures and track outcomes around all students’ learning growth, wellbeing (physical, emotional and mental) and independence” by creating a new way for staff to measure student wellbeing at school.
The department is committed to supporting teachers and school leaders to develop individualised learning goals that set high aspirations for students and allow for ongoing review. Educators are supported to achieve this through resources including the department’s:
Three feedback methods were developed and trialled as ways to hear from students with moderate to high support needs as part of My Say My Way.
Photovoice involves photographing aspects of a student’s environment and experiences to share with others.
Body mapping is an activity where students are guided through the process of making a life-size outline of themselves which they fill with images, symbols and words representing their experiences.
Accessible online survey
Students completed one of three versions of an accessible online survey, each adapted to a different level of support need.
My Say My Way aims to address accessibility barriers to the Tell Them From Me survey for students with disability, who may currently require additional support or adjustments to complete the survey.
Tell Them From Me is a series of surveys for measuring student’s engagement, wellbeing and experiences at school. The surveys can be used to capture student, parent and teacher voices, providing reliable evidence for schools to use in identifying strengths and areas for improvement.
During the trial, staff helped students to give feedback on their successes and challenges in accessible ways and committed to working to address this feedback at school level.
We are currently evaluating the findings of My Say My Way and considering options for how it could be used by NSW public schools in the future. The department will use the findings of the trial to scope options for future work.
Using My Say My Way in schools
Schools are able to trial the surveys, body mapping and photo voice activities as ways of capturing student voice.
The videos available can act as guides to assist school staff to use these methods in their classrooms, and questions or feedback can be directed to the Disability Strategy team.
Find out more about other ways we are building the evidence base for students with disability through research.