Students empowered to activate their ideas

Queen of Apostles School, Stafford

Victoria Stark, Carolyn De Witt-Ryall and Renee Devereaux from BCE’s Student Protection team are welcomed to Queen of Apostles for their Activating Student Ideas Unit

STUDENTS at Queen of Apostles School, Stafford, are helping make their school a safer, more inclusive and engaging environment through a Student Voice unit that encourages them to activate their ideas.

For the second year, the school has participated in the Activating Student Ideas Unit, which linked into the Australian curriculum and was offered exclusively to students in Years 5 and 6 in BCE primary schools.

The Year 6 students, who began the unit in Term 3, looked at four areas they might want to “add to”, “change”, “fix” or “remove” to make the school a safer place for all students.

In small groups, they planned, researched, interviewed and produced video presentations that were put to a student vote.

The three most important issues were then presented to Principal Nigel Bird, the school leadership team and representatives from BCE’s Student Protection team.


Tripping hazards were on the agenda for students

Mr Bird said he was impressed with the three presentations which highlighted the engagement by students in the unit.

“One of the great things about this unit is, not only do they discover areas of concern, but they also come up with answers and solutions to those concerns,” he said.

“It’s great to see the collaboration, both in and between the teams and they are also learning new skills around videoing, editing and public speaking.

“We are truly blessed that they have taken on this initiative with such energy.”

Year 6 teacher Trent McKenna said the unit was a great way to get students thinking about how they can use their voices to get issues that affected them out into the open.

“Often, what we as teachers think can be completely different to what the students think,” Mr McKenna said.

“Just handing a bit of control back to the students is really beneficial and they really enjoy it.”

Mr McKenna said he was surprised by the ideas the students put forward.

“They all have their own ideas.

 “You’ve just got to trust their ideas and what’s important to them.”


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Year 6 student Sofia Pezzetta said she really enjoyed being involved in the unit.

“It was an opportunity to tell adults how we can improve something that we see as a safety issue to us students,” she said.

“This will make our school a better environment for all of us.”

Sofia said she also gained more confidence in her own ability to speak out about her concerns as a student.

“It’s something I will take with me when I go into secondary school next year.”

Carolyn De Witt-Ryall, Senior Officer Professional Standards and Student Protection, said she too was impressed with the Year 6 students and their presentations.  

She said the students clearly identified the key safety issues, explained how this impacted on students and, best of all, identified practical solutions to address these issues.

“It was also fantastic to see Principal Nigel and Assistant Principal Tina Watson make time to listen to the safety presentations and affirm the students for not just raising issues but taking responsibility for coming up with ideas on how the safety issues can be addressed.

“Today reinforced for me the importance of partnering with students to create and sustain safer, more inclusive and student-focused learning environments,” she said.


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