REPRESENTATIVE STUDENT VOICE SHOULD BE ENCOURAGED

RESPONSE TO A BAKEWELL SCHOOL INITIATIVE

This ‘Student Choice Positive Initiative’ is a great development. For me, it extends dimensionally on what has been a focus of schools in the NT (and elsewhere) for the past three decades. In increasing numbers, both primary and secondary schools have supported student voice through school student councils and other instruments. The challenge for some has been to enable students to have a voice and an input that is not controlled or vetted to the point of being irrelevant.

Student summits and developmental opportunities have been around, supported and grown by schools for a long time. School student councils have been in existence for even longer. The Bakewell Initiative further grows and develops the concept.

There is, as the program suggested, a tendency to mark all students as ‘negative’ because of the stain placed upon youth character by the aberrant and dysfunctional element in their midst. It is true to say that the vast majority of young people are very decent, well disposed persons, who do not deserve to be characterised in the way that happens.

It is also true to say that young people who have both positive family as well as school support are well placed to make very positive contributions to life’s world.

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