The Commissioner’s annual Student Voice Postcard initiative is one simple, yet effective way for South Australian children to know that someone is listening to them. From the added messages children write on their postcards, to the occasional messages of support received from educators, the Commissioner knows it is an approach that works, and that children find it fun and engaging and value the affirmation their views and perspectives receive.
The reports the Commissioner writes each year summarising what children have told her are used to inform leaders and service providers about what children have said will make their lives better. This helps with service planning. If services are co-designed with children in this way, they’re much more likely to benefit from them. It also helps children feel valued, listened to, understood, and respected by adults.
The reports are usually published in August each year. They summarise children’s postcard responses from the previous year.
The Things That Matter 3 Report (2021)
Views of 8 to 12 year olds on life, school and community
This third report in the Student Voice Postcards series reflects responses from 13,868 South Australian children who completed postcards in 2021. Children told their Commissioner about the importance of family and friends, as well as how much pride they take in being kind and caring and in looking after people, the environment, and animals. They also told her they enjoy making people laugh, and that they wanted adults to know they ‘have their back’, and that whilst it may not always be obvious, they love and appreciate all that adults do for them.
Thank You for Your Postcards!
Keep an eye out for an Excellence in Student Voice certificate sent in recognition of your School’s commitment to student voice and advocacy.
Follow this link to download the Students Voice Postcard Feedback Presentation for Children: a short 4-minute Powerpoint presentation. It can be played at a school assembly and read out aloud to primary school students by your school principal, classroom teacher or student representative.
Thank you for supporting your students to have a voice!
The Things That Matter to Children (2021)
What Worries SA Children Most
A snapshot view of what worries SA children most. The data is drawn directly from consultation with South Australian Children in 2020 and 2021. Children have told me that they are still not being listened and in cases where decisions are being made that affect them they deserve to be informed and voice their opinion. They told me that their worries are constantly dismissed and are concerned about navigating relationships and inaction on important issues in their lives like bullying. Children are also worried about their futures and face increased costs of living and work shortages. They worry about the future of work and how that will affect their mental wellbeing as they have seen the same issue now with their families and believe it will be worse in the future. Children also worry that the future will be spent dealing with climate change due to the inaction of today’s decision makers. For other snapshots in the series click here.
The Things That Matter 2 Report (2020)
Views of 8-12 year olds on life, school and community
This second report reflects responses from 8,379 South Australian children who completed postcards in 2020 – a year like no other. Children value their freedom to play, have fun, and be active and creative. They recognise this will change as they get older and take on ‘adults responsibilities’ working, providing for others, and paying bills and taxes. Children want everyone, no matter where they live and who they are, to have a home, a voice, kind friends and family, a good education, a rewarding job, and enough money to afford healthcare, food, transport, education and housing. While many want to travel, others have aspirations closely tied to their home region. Children care about and are affected by issues both on a local and global scale. Helping animals and the environment is just as important as helping other people.
The Job Aspirations of 8 – 12 year olds
In 2019, one of the questions children were asked to answer was about their aspirations for the future, and what jobs or careers they would like to pursue.
Research has found that career aspirations are formed early on, with a majority of seven year olds able to provide a considered answer to the question of what they would like to be when they grow up. This spotlight report provides a snapshot view of what SA children aged 8 – 12 years told us they want to do most in the future:
Get a good Job — Be a good person — Learn and do well — See the world
It should be of great interest to anyone interested in the future of this State, that when our children speak about their hopes, dreams, and aspirations, getting a good job is at the top of their list. Download the snapshot report to find out more.
The Things That Matter Report (2019)
Views of 8-12 year olds on life, school and community
The first report reflects responses from 8,429 South Australian children who completed postcards in 2019 – the inaugural year of the initiative. It reveals that above all children value kindness, fairness and equality in leaders, along with doing the right thing and ensuring ‘everyone’ regardless of age or background, can afford healthcare, education, housing and transport. While most children are doing well, almost all children wrote about something they would like to see changed in their own community, school, and family, or in the world. Children want to learn, play, do well and lead happy, healthy, active, and creative lives. They want this for all other people, as well as for themselves.
Give your students a voice!
Download Postcard Pack Here