Response: Students to get a permanent seat at the table on all government secondary School Councils
The Victorian Student Representative Council (VicSRC) has welcomed the introduction in 2018 of student members on all Victorian government Secondary School Councils with full voting rights.
Victorian Minister for Education The Hon. James Merlino recently delivered the announcement at the VicSRC’s annual Recognition Awards, an event awarding students, teachers and Student Representative Councils (SRCs) from across Victoria for best practice in student voice, leadership and student-led action.
The VicSRC Student Executive Mia Sherman responded to the announcement:
“Putting students on School Councils ensures that their voices hold the value they deserve. As a student, this is a very exciting moment that my peers and I have been advocating for."
"This is our education, and we ought to have a say in it. We thank the Victorian Government, particularly the Department of Education, for recognising our desire to be heard.”
Minister Merlino delivered the announcement in a speech opening the Awards.
"This has been an issue that students have repeatedly raised with me in my time as Minister and I am very proud to say we will be taking action."
"Young people should have a say in the future direction of their school. We want our kids to be future leaders in our communities and developing these skills is a crucial step in making that happen."
"These student members will have full voting rights on the Council and it is our expectation they will play a key role in deciding the future direction of the school."
Winner of the Newsboys Foundation Youth Leadership award and VicSRC student member David Trevorrow responded to the announcement:
"As students we are thrilled that our long campaign has been successful. This is a decision that shows well-deserved faith in the students of Victoria to contribute to high-level decision making with maturity and confidence. Students a bring unique contemporary experience of school to School Council meetings."
"We look forward to working with School Council presidents, principals and the education sector to make sure students have a role in School Council that is authentic and adds to the decision-making process."
The issue of School Councils without student members was first raised in 2015 at our annual event, VicSRC Congress. Advocating for all secondary School Councils to have student members with full voting rights was voted on by 180 student delegates as the top priority for the VicSRC that year.
In 2016 the VicSRC commissioned Deakin University to research the effectiveness of student members on School Councils. A survey conducted by researchers at Deakin found that on average 80.6% of Victorian students and teachers supported the idea of student members on all School Councils, and that School Councils without student members are missing a crucial element.
The VicSRC looks forward to working with the Victorian Department of Education and Training in creating an inclusive and supportive model for student members on School Councils.
Watch Student Executive Alumni David Trevorrow discuss the benefits of students on school councils on ABC News Breakfast.
To arrange interviews or for further information: Nina Laitala, VicSRC Executive Officer, (03) 9267 3744; 0411 679 050 firstname.lastname@example.org
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