Commissioner’s Student Voice Postcard Initiative
What is it?
As South Australia’s Commissioner for Children and Young People, I am concerned that the voices of primary school children between the ages of 8 and 12 years are not being heard. I want to hear what ideas and opinions this age group has and what matters to them most. I want to raise awareness of their concerns, and where possible advocate on their behalf for greater participation and input into decision making and design of services aimed at supporting and benefitting them. If we don’t know what matters to them most how can we design services that meet their needs?
My work as Commissioner for Children and Young People is directly informed by listening to the views and opinions of children and young people living in South Australia. I have heard that the voices of 8 – 12 year olds are often not heard and in guiding the work of my office I devised a project that would enable this group of South Australians to tell me what is most important to them.
I launched my inaugural Student Voice Postcards initiative in 2019 and received 8,429 postcard responses from all over the state. The responses children sent me were so informative that I decided to run the initiative an annual basis, repeating it again in 2020 and 2021. Completed postcards are sent to and are returned from South Australian children aged 8-12 years attending Catholic, Independent, Government, Special, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and Behavioural Schools. The success of the initiative has now cemented it as a sentinel activity I will continue year on year, providing tens of thousands of older primary school aged children living in South Australia with an opportunity to participate, at scale, in a project designed to have their opinions heard, gathered, and reported upon over a longitudinal timeframe.
I produce a report summarising these findings each year. There are currently two reports available for download via the links below:
The aims of the Student Voice Postcards initiative are:
- To significantly bolster student agency and civic participation for older primary school aged children 8 – 12 years.
- To encourage children in this age group to identify and share what aspects of their lives are most important to them.
- To provide children in this age group with greater awareness of the Commissioner and her work.
- To provide children in this age group with an opportunity to have their voices heard in the knowledge that the Commissioner will advocate on their behalf to policy and decision-makers on matters they have told her are impacting on their lives.
To get involved in the Student Voice Postcards initiative visit the dedicated website containing downloadable postcards pack and up to date information about the initiative including insights into response gathered in 2019 and 2020.