Student Voice

GWSC has always maintained a strong focus on student leadership, both the Middle and Senior schools providing the resources and programs that have enabled students to develop excellent leadership skills and qualities.

It would seem to be a natural progression from the work done in the sub schools in actively developing student leadership to also focus on developing student voice. This is very much in line with one of the college’s main priorities, that is, to develop the whole student – physically, socially and intellectually. An important component of this is to provide opportunities for student voice, ultimately enhancing students’ ability to actively contribute to their own learning. GWSC is committed to creating an environment in which the student voice is genuinely recognised, fostered, celebrated and one that ultimately influences positive change within the learning community.

There is evidence to suggest that when schools engage student voice they create opportunities to facilitate a greater sense of:

  • membership, helping students feel more positive about school
  • respect and self worth, so that students feel positive about themselves
  • self as learner, enabling students to manage their own process in learning; and
  • agency, so that students realise that they can have impact on things that matter to them in school

Exactly, what is meant by student voice?
The active and authentic involvement of students has been identified as a key factor in creating a supportive school.

“Giving students a voice is not simply about the opportunity to communicate ideas and opinions; it is about having the power to influence change.” (West 2004)

“Meaningful involvement of students means validating and authorising them to represent their own ideas, opinions, knowledge and experiences throughout education in order to improve our schools.”  (Fletcher, 2005) 

To have a voice, students are actively involved in meaningful decision making processes. ‘Student Voice’ provides students with opportunities to become active participants in their education and give their input towards decisions about what, and how they learn, and even how their learning is assessed. Much of the research and literature suggests there is a strong connection between student voice and learning outcomes for students – which of course, is the core business of any school. The desire is for students to understand that their expertise, opinions and ideas are valued in all aspects of GWSC life. 
Besides the opportunities to express their ‘voice’ in the classroom, GWSC also provides formal avenues for students to express their collective voice. These opportunities avail themselves through:

  • The Principal’s Advisory Group (PAG). PAG is a representative student group (across all year levels) which meets regularly with the College Principal and Assistant Principals. The purpose of the group is to provide a forum for student voice and to promote student leadership in the college. It is chaired by a student chairperson and business is organised by a student secretary. PAG recommendations to the Principal have influenced many facets of school operations, policies and processes since its inception in 1997.
  • The Senior School Council which comprises of the College Captains and Vice Captains, who lead a team of up to 8 students from Years 10, 11 and 12. The Council meets on a regular basis to discuss and identify sub-school and whole school initiatives which they want to focus on impacting during the year.
  • The Living and Learning Program. Students in Year 7, 8 and 10 have one timetabled ‘Living & Learning’ class per week. Amongst other things, it too provides a forum for student voice.


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