Child Protection Week award for BCE Student Voice


(Clockwise from left) Alison Jeffries, Victoria Stark, Cyndi Mandile, Renee Devereaux, Vicki Holding, Carolyn De Witt-Ryall, Miriama Taulaga from St Francis College, Crestmead, and Alysha Gray from St Thomas More College, Sunnybank, with their Youth Participation Award

BRISBANE Catholic Education's Student Voice initiative has been recognised at this year's Queensland Child Protection Week (QCPW) Awards, taking out the Youth Participation Award.

The awards, which this year marked 30 years, recognised Queenslanders that worked with vulnerable and at-risk children across Queensland through the theme Putting Children First.

BCE Professional Standards and Student Protection Senior Advisor, Carolyn De Witt-Ryall, attended a COVID-safe Parliament House ceremony with BCE Executive Director Pam Bets, Student Voice Project Lead Renee Devereaux and two Student Voice representatives to accept the award from Queensland Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll.

They were among 11 award winners presented with awards.

Carolyn said the team was humbled and honoured​ to receive the Youth Participation award.

“This award means so much to us as it affirms what we - the student protection team, the students and staff in our schools and BCE office, have achieved over the last four years," she said.

“We are grateful for the ongoing support of Alison Jeffries, my manager and the BCE leadership team and thank them for championing student voice in BCE."

Student Voice started in 2018 and this year BCE partnered with international experts in student voice, the Quaglia Institute for Voice and Aspirations, to help grow student voice across our community of schools.

The aim is to give our primary and secondary students an opportunity to co-create safer and more inclusive school communities and empower students to engage in conversations about safety in their school.

Youth Participation category referee Penny Gordon, a professional coach, said BCEs Student Protection Team had gone above and beyond (weekends and after hours) to create a program that facilitated students' ideas and their understanding about what made a safe school.

“There has been a cultural shift for the organisation through their work," she said.

BCE representatives at Queensland Parliament House to accept the 
Child Protection Week Award

Inaugural Student Voice Consultant Alysha Gray said she felt privileged to have participated in a project that truly cared about the students it works to serve.

“I continue to be in awe of the huge changes the project makes in the lives of students every day," she said.

Student Voice Project Lead Renee Devereaux said it was a privilege to work alongside so many BCE students and staff members focussed on genuinely listening to students and inviting them to collaborate to make schools safer, more inclusive and engaging.

She said Student Voice had the power to transform classrooms, contribute to school improvement and ensure that our system was responsive and innovative.

Queensland Minister for Child Safety, Youth and Women, Di Farmer, congratulated the award winners and thanked them for their enormous support and dedication to the safety of vulnerable young Queenslanders.

“Child safety is everybody's business has never been a more pertinent message to share during Child Protection Week as Queensland begins its COVID-19 recovery," she said.

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