Students back inclusive school communities

Poll reveals an even split on whether schools are willing to share student perspectives with the wider community. 

03 November 2020
Large group of students wearing school uniform stand outside on grassed area for group photo.
Image: Dapto High School student representative council provided the question for the September poll.

A student poll has revealed wide support for fostering greater awareness of political issues at school and building inclusive school communities.

In our September Student Voices poll, Dapto High School SRC highlighted how it ensured student perspectives were shared with the wider community on issues ranging from climate change to LGBTQIA+ awareness and inclusivity to improving school infrastructure.

The Dapto High SRC asked students via the Student Voices poll whether their experience was replicated in other schools.

Of 304 respondents to the survey 45 per cent believed their schools were committed to sharing student perspectives, while 55 per cent did not think this was the case.

Responding to the survey questions, one Year 7 student said student perspectives at their primary school had been gathered by a suggestion box which prefects worked through.

“Some of the suggestions we have acted upon include, becoming a more sustainable school and campaigning more for climate change,” the student wrote.

“We have also made the library accessible for kids in wheelchairs per a Year 3 boy’s suggestion.”

While many students highlighted activities that raised awareness and supported students across many demographics, a Year 10 student pointed out that support for diversity at schools needed to be broadened.

“Schools do not show hearing/deaf awareness, but do LGBT and autism,” she said.

Many students supported the idea that promotion of student perspectives made school life more enjoyable.

“I think if schools listened and committed to student perspectives the experience of school would be better and the school would be better as a whole,” said one Year 6 respondent.

A Year 9 student also highlighted how their school had removed the criteria of having two female and two male captains as part of the leadership team.

“Our school has made it more inclusive to more students as we are now introducing a new "rule" that captains do not need to be two boys and two girls in the traditional way and is allowing anyone of any gender and sexuality,” they wrote.

However other students felt schools should just focus on teaching and learning: “School is a place for education not dogma,” wrote one female respondent. “I am not at school to celebrate diversity, and culture (things that should be embraced no doubt), I am here to prepare for my adult life. This isn't a matter of contempt or disregard, it is a matter of priority.”

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Share your view in our latest student poll that asks for your views on attending school.
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