Student voice

Student Voice

In many schools teachers and leaders discussed collecting student (and parent) voice. They had not explored what they meant by this or how they intended to promote and respond to it. Student voice can mean different things.

Most schools used a survey to hear students’ views. However, if the purpose was to increase students’ self awareness about their views, competencies and knowledge, classroom discussions can enable teachers to respond with learning opportunities that build on these strengths. Teachers in schools that had an extensive approach to wellbeing, tended to use assessment practices to improve learning and to support inquiry-based learning.

If the purpose was to have teams of students in a leadership role contribute to the design of learning experiences that affect their wellbeing, teachers and leaders needed to provide the time and space for this.

Māori parents’ perspectives

ERO reported on Māori parents’ and whānau perspectives in Partners in Learning: Parents’ Voices (ERO, 2008). Parents and whānau told ERO that their children and mokopuna were their priority. They felt that their involvement in their children’s education was critical.

These Māori parents wanted:

They wanted to be involved in their child’s school and invited to be part of their child’s learning.

their children to be confident learners who accepted challenges and maintained their personal mana

their culture and values acknowledged through Māori protocols (e.g. mihi and karakia at meeting)

schools to provide programmes in te reo Māori and tikanga

teachers to have a range of skills and strategies to engage their children in learning

Achievement expectations

This images shows four boxes and a central box in the centre overlapping all four boxes. The central box is An unrelenting focus on student achievement and learning. The first box from top left clockwise reads: High Quality Achievement Information, Information about what students need to know and do is used to identify what teachers need to know and do. The second box reads: Strong Leadership, Ensuures whole school alignment and choherence across policies and practices that focus on resource and support quality teaching. The third box reads: Teachers, teaching is focused on student achievement and facilitates high standards of student outcomes. The fourth box reads: Trustees, Board decision-making focuses on improving student outcomes and monitoring progress towards achieving goals.

 Board responsibility and resourcing

Boards play a vital role in schools that effectively accelerate progress for students.

  • Boards received good quality information regularly from school leaders, and were active and engaged – independently questioning the data and seeking to further their own understanding.
  • They used the data to inform resourcing decisions, which were targeted and responsive to areas of need.
  • Boards also used the information to set appropriate targets to raise achievement and align them with strategic goals.

They use the information they receive to make decisions about funding to resource additional professional development for teachers, targeted programmes, extra staff, and release time. They then receive robust information about how those resources helped students that need to make the most progress. Mathematics in Years 4 to 8: Developing a

Trustees in the most effective schools make thoughtful decisions based on a range of telling evidence. These schools gather data using both quantitative (numerical) and qualitative (narrative) methods. The data is scrutinised carefully for what is and isn’t obvious. Further data is asked for and gathered if necessary to provide a more detailed picture. Data analysis includes establishing what is significant, what is working well and what isn’t, how groups or cohorts compare, what patterns or trends are showing up, and whether improvement or progress is apparent. The findings are integrated into board decision-making processes which include prioritising, evaluating possible interventions or programmes, action planning and deciding on success criteria. Examples can be found in Schools’ Use of Operational Funding: Case Studies (ERO, 2007):

This image shows children with books and photographs