Hello. I’m Helen Connolly, South Australia’s 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. I do this by asking every primary and combined (public, Catholic, independent and special education) school in South Australia to support their students to take part.
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 first four years of the postcard initiative have been very successful, with the following participation rates:
- 8,429 in 2019 from 239 SA Schools
- 8,379 in 2020 from 219 SA Schools (slight decline attributed to COVID-19)
- 13,868 in 2021 from 289 SA Schools
- 16,007 in 2022 from 326 SA Schools
Now in its fifth year, I’m keen to take the project to the next level by encouraging even greater participation from primary and combined schools throughout SA.
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 reports summarise what primary school children tell me matters to them most in the year surveyed. Their responses are used to help shape future policy by identifying priorities children themselves have helped to define through their direct input into the postcards initiative each year. The reports are distributed to educators and service providers as well as to academics and researchers, decision makers and leaders. These include Members of Parliament, relevant Ministers and SA Government Department Heads. Organisations involved in educating or supporting primary school aged children are made aware of the initiative each year with links to the reports and website distributed for their information and to share with their 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 teacher 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 support.
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.”
Give your students a voice!
Download 2023 Postcard Pack