Student voice and leadership

The Wellbeing Framework for Schools and School Excellence Framework require schools to provide opportunities for meaningful student participation and leadership, including student voice and decision making.

Student leadership helps young people find their voices, participate in decision-making, and understand their rights and responsibilities as active citizens. It assists students to have a real impact on their learning and school environment and prepares them to participate meaningfully in their community.

Schools should:

  • value and engage student voice within teaching and learning, school planning, operations and governance
  • involve students in conversations and decisions about what and how they learn and how their learning is assessed
  • develop student participation and leadership skills and nurture character to support their active citizenship
  • provide inclusive student leadership opportunities within the classroom, school and wider community, including SRCs
  • provide opportunities for student participation and leadership that celebrate difference, diversity, and that recognise, respect and respond to identity and cultural background
  • provide opportunities for all students to actively contribute to the school and their community through mentoring, student service learning and volunteering.

Supporting student voice and leadership

Students can be leaders in the classroom, through their actions in the playground, through their support for others, or their involvement in academic, sporting, cultural or local community events or projects.

The whole school community benefits when students get involved in planning and decision-making and when participants, students, staff and community work together on issues they choose and value. Ideally, tasks also meet the academic or curriculum goals that the school is required to achieve.

In the classroom, encourage students to:

  • develop and share their own opinions about current issues and to engage in debate, discussion and critique of those issues
  • be involved in identifying and defining behavioural expectations
  • engage in conversations and decisions about teaching, learning and assessment.

In the school, engage students in opportunities to:

  • be involved in decision-making bodies of the school such as the School Council
  • participate as school ambassadors or representatives beyond the school
  • participate in peer support, buddying, mentoring or coaching programs
  • take on leadership roles within the school such as prefects
  • join as members and participants in key school processes such as staff or school leadership appointment panels
  • develop and implement projects to change and improve practices, school operations, culture or climate
  • undertake research and consultation about aspects of the school operation, culture, climate or practice  that may need change or improvement
  • participate in school change or reform processes.

In the school system, invite and enable students to:

  • act as key informants in research processes designed to assess or develop school and system practice
  • participate as key informants in system reform processes

In the school community, enable students to

  • develop and implement community-based projects, possibly in partnership with other agencies, to enhance and support learning.
  • engage with local government and the wider community.


Student leadership: a review of effective practice (PDF 874.33KB) gives an overview of student leadership in educational settings in Australian and international contexts.
(Note: This resource does not currently meet WCAG 2.0 accessibility requirements. Please contact 02 9244 5741 to request an alternative copy)

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