Students fail to see the impact of their voice

Our first Student Voices poll suggests it’s time to rethink the make-up of student leadership groups while Dapto High School SRC has a new question for students to answer.

01 September 2020
Group of students outside
Image: Vote now: Dapto High School student representative council provided the question for our new poll, included below.


Two-thirds of students surveyed feel their views are not acted upon within their school, according to the first Student Voices poll.

The poll respondents were answering the question posed by Kingscliff High School’s student representative council: In your school can you see your voice in action?

Of the 150 responses, only 49 agreed with the question, while 99 students felt their schools did not seriously take student voice into account.

In the poll responses, students consistently raised concerns around the make-up of student representative councils.

The survey results suggested the make-up of school SRCs needed to be more than “just one big popularity test” and broadened to reflect that more diversity of views was heard.

As one respondent noted: “Student voice is not about one group of people being heard”, while another student suggested school leaders should aim for “whole-school input on issues”.

“Many hands build a house … I believe it should be many hands and many voices make our school,” one respondent wrote.

Many students felt stronger input from students would improve their school experience, with respondents pointing to positive examples where students had given input into new uniform design and improvement to school infrastructure and furniture.

“The SRC needs the power to … enact significant changes in schools to ensure the rights and best interests of students is always put first. Currently the SRC is essentially a student-run front for staff decisions … and that needs to change,” wrote a Year 12 student.

A year 11 student said while their school was encouraging student voice it needed to “steer away from convenient student voice to building an environment where the school depends on student input just as much as teachers”.

Those poll respondents who could see the impact of student voice in their schools highlighted a sense of ownership over their learning and school environment and gave credit to the SRC for being proactive.

“In our school I have seen a lot of new things pop up from the SRC and the SRC are always looking for new ways to input our voice into the school,” a Year 10 student observed, while a Year 12 student who was part of their school’s prefect body highlighted the school’s quick action on student advice.

Some poll respondents used the survey as an opportunity for suggestions with a number requesting cheaper canteens and more input into school uniform design.

September poll

Vote now in our latest student poll with questions provided by Dapto High School’s SRC.

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