FINALIST – Student Voice Primary School of the Year
Student Voice: A Whole School Approach at Kilmore Primary School
A shared understanding of what student voice and agency is
Teachers and students designed KPS’s student voice and agency policies. As a school, KPS are one year into a four year plan for student voice and agency. It is embedded in the teachers’ Professional Development Plans, the Annual Strategic Plan and most importantly, classrooms.
Policy and practise outlines non-negotiables of staff and students, such as:
- classroom meetings that are student led
- student led reflections during classes
- students giving feedback to teachers to guide practise and engagement
Classroom practises that reflect student voice, agency and participation
KPS have incorporated the High Impact Teaching Strategies (HITS) of Feedback to ensure student voice is being heard, as well as:
- Student led reflections at the end of lessons in most upper primary years, with the vision for this to occur in younger years in the near future.
- Staff analyse Attitudes to School Survey data to look at where they are lacking and where they can improve. Students in years 3-6 also share their insights into the data.
- Pivot surveys to gauge teacher-student engagement and use this student voice to set goals for teachers
- Using AMPLIFY for self-assessments to see where KPS is at and set further goals.
Students have a role in decision-making
- Students present ideas to school council and the school leadership team.
- Students decide which internal and external fundraisers KPS do based off what their classmates think.
- Students created a toilet transformation proposal including research, presentation, fundraising and did the transformation themselves • Students created an action plan around lost property within the school, through VicSRC’s ALTER program.
- Students have a much greater voice in their classrooms and school
- Class meetings happen more regularly
- Teachers are aware of how to gain feedback from students and then use this feedback
Next steps for KPS include designing a very clear definition of student agency and rolling it out in classrooms, as well as having more co-designed learning opportunities.
Teachers had some trouble comprehending how to best implement student voice in their classrooms.
Some community members were hesitant about giving students more of a voice.
The Student Empowerment Coordinator worked with students, and created Professional Development around teacher needs
For the community:
Explain all the benefits of listening to students and explain how it is not giving students ‘free reign.’ You can do this through newsletters, posts on your school social media pages and website, presenting to school council and speaking at assemblies.
Advice for other schools
- Do it!
- Have a dedicated staff member for student voice
- Be sure that you all have a clear vision and mission as a team to guide your work and refer to this where possible – especially when things seem tricky
The Student Voice: A Whole School Approach Award is part of the annual VicSRC Student Voice Awards which recognise and celebrate best practice initiatives, schools and people in student voice.Kilmore Case Study 2019 (78 downloads)