The Thistle - An E-Newsletter of Scotch College, Perth, Western Australia

From the Head of Senior School

Student Voice

Last week a number of our students and a selection of staff met with a visiting Head of School from New South Wales. We had the opportunity to discuss a number of similarities and differences between the schools; how we operate, the educational programmes on offer and the manner in which our structures provide support for our students.

One topic that we were asked about, and decided to focus on, was ‘student voice’. This made me think about the number of initiatives that our students had already brought forward and implemented this year. The students have been proactive in sharing their ideas and, where appropriate, leading change. Our Assemblies are a great example of this. We continue to embrace significant student involvement in these events, both in the preparation and involvement on stage, as they share their thoughts and experiences, and we celebrate their efforts across a variety of activities. Two highlights from our last Assembly were the promotion of the upcoming Drama Production, The Government Inspector and the Agricultural Day video. The time and effort put into these by our students, where their ideas were embraced and supported by dedicated staff, were fantastic.

Class time, where students are encouraged to share how they learn, and mentor and House groups have also provided pathways for students to share their ideas, as has our Student Council with representatives in each House providing the boys with opportunities to share their views. This group has been very proactive and implemented some fantastic initiatives. One of these is Live Music Mondays, where students have performed a variety of music genres for the students and staff in the Senior School. This has created a great vibe at lunchtimes and provided students with the opportunity to showcase their talents. Amongst a number of other initiatives, the Student Council have also run a Highland Games Week, supported the Maslin Foundation with a purple themed Free Dress Day and responded to student ideas about improving some of the facilities around the Senior School.

Students were involved in consultation about the set-up of the new Mathematics and Commerce building with a number of their ideas shared and some implemented in the design of that building. The ‘student voice’ is an important factor in any school. Sometimes there are hurdles to overcome or obstacles that require us to look at things from a different perspective, however we encourage our students to share their thoughts and ideas in the appropriate forums and help to initiate change, and support them in doing so. This comes more naturally to some than others and often sits with our older students, however, our Year 9 and 10 students have the same communication pathways available to them through their House and Student Council representatives. The thoughts, opinions and different perspectives of this group are an invaluable resource to our school community and it is important that the students feel confident in sharing them.

While discussing ‘student voice’ I cannot help but segue into the House Singing that is happening later this term. Preparations are in full swing and we look forward with anticipation to the various renditions of some Australian classics.