2023 Student Voice Postcard Pack arriving at your School at the Start of Term 3!

Commissioner’s Introduction

Hello. I’m Helen Connolly, South Australia’s inaugural Commissioner for Children and Young People.

My role is to promote the rights, best interests and wellbeing of children and young people in South Australia.

Every year I run my Student Voice Postcard initiative as a way of providing primary school children with an opportunity to have their voices heard and their ideas and views considered.
I do this by asking every primary and combined (Government, Catholic, Independent, Special Education, Aboriginal and Anangu) school in South Australia to support their students to take part by completing a postcard and returning it to me.

Students do this by responding to four questions based on the following four recurring themes:

  • What is important to children in this age group…
  • What aspirations do they have…
  • What are they most worried about…and
  • What would they change about their lives if they could?

The questions change slightly each year so that students who participated in previous years can do so again. No personal identifying data is collected.

The initiative has proven very successful with 65,011 postcards received with school and student participation rates over the past five years recorded as follows:

  • 8,429 postcards received in 2019 from 239 SA Schools
  • 8,379 postcards received in 2020 from 219 SA Schools (slight decline attributed to COVID-19)
  • 13,868 postcards received in 2021 from 289 SA Schools
  • 16,007 postcards received in 2022 from 326 SA Schools
  • 18,328 postcards received in 2023 from 347 SA Schools

Now entering its sixth year, I’m encouraged by the increasing levels of participation from primary and combined schools throughout SA, including the 27 ‘first timers’ who joined in last year. I would also like to send a big shout out of sincere thanks to the 67 schools who have participated every year since the initiative commenced in 2019. 

There are four reports (The Things That Matter, The Things That Matter 2, The Things that Matter 3 and The Things That Matter 4) now available.  The fifth report summarising the postcards received in 2023, will become available in late July this year. 

The suite of reports summarise what primary school children have told me matters to them most.
Their responses are being used to help shape future policy by identifying priorities children themselves have helped to define through their direct input into my postcards initiative each year, with the support of their school and teachers who help to promote student voice and agency. 

The findings are also packaged into fact sheets and topic guides, and these resources are distributed to educators and service providers, academics and researchers, decision makers and state and community leaders. They include members of parliament and relevant ministers as well as SA government department executives, and local government Mayors and CEOs.

Organisations involved in educating or supporting primary school aged children are also made aware of the findings. Links to these resources and to this postcards website are also distributed each year, to enable review of the latest content and sharing of information with relevant stakeholders.

  • If you’re an educator at a primary or combined school in South Australia, you can get involved here.
  • If you’re a parent or carer, you could ask your child’s tea/get-involved/cher or school to get involved.
  • If you know an educator at a school in SA, you could share news of this opportunity with them, and thereby help to amplify opportunities for student voice and agency thoughtout South Australian primary schools.

Thank you in advance for your ongoing support.

Helen Connolly
Commissioner for Children and Young People, South Australia

“My 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 to me, to the occasional messages of support I receive from Educators, I know it is an approach that works. Children find it fun and engaging, and value the affirmation their views and perspectives receive.”

Download reports

Acknowledgement of Country
We respectfully acknowledge and celebrate the Traditional Owners of the lands throughout South Australia and we pay our respects to their Elders – and to past, present and future generations of their children and young people.

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Adelaide, SA 5000
Kaurna Country
08 8226 3355

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