Forward December 2017 Forward_2017Dec WEB - Page 10

FROM THE HEAD OF SENIOR SCHOOL Capturing the right voice Without a doubt, ‘student voice’ is such an important resource that can provide feedback to assist in guiding the actions and planning in a school. However, in many educational institutions (particularly schools) student voice can be an underutilised resource; one reason is that it can be difficult to capture. The recent Michelle Mitchell workshops undertaken with our Year 7, 10 and 11 students provided an opportunity for some rich and interesting feedback to be obtained from the students. I was extremely pleased that much of the feedback displayed a genuine ability for our students to be thoughtful, reflective and show gratitude for the outstanding educational opportunity they have as part of this school community. The responses I particularly wanted to share with the community in this edition of the Forward are the student responses when posed with the question “What makes Guildford Grammar a great school?” The perennial humorous answers that students from all walks of life have been giving since the dawn of schooling, that “recess and lunch” are the best parts, of course made an expected appearance, but as a collective the response from the students was much more measured and thoughtful. For our Year 7s the facilities of the school were identified as the standout feature closely followed by the House system and the sporting opportunities. Not far behind, they held a strong weighting around “freedom of choice” in relation to their subjects and activities, and teachers and cultural diversity were themes that appeared frequently. Our Year 10 students again strongly indicated that facilities, the House system, teachers and sporting opportunities are the components of school which have the biggest impact on them, although they also included comments such as “inclusive regardless of academic level”, “supportive of students” and mentions of the School’s traditions and culture. The Year 11 students identified academic choice and teaching staff as two of the most important factors, which is probably reflective of their focus in the latter years of schooling, but also had the campus and its facilities and PSA sport as very significant contributors to their schooling experience. More than any other group they also identified being able to spend time with their friends as a significant factor, no doubt thanks to the relationships they have created and sustained over a longer period in the school. Mr Brad Evans There is no one correct answer for “What makes Guildford Grammar a great school?”. As educators and parents, we should place a premium value on what students have to say in this regard, given that they are at the centre of all that we do, and I hope this small insight has provided some food for thought and discussion regarding what makes our school so special. There is no doubt that much of what our students expressed as valuable in their educational experience will be highlighted in this edition of the Forward, which we hope you enjoy! Mr Brad Evans Head Of Senior School 11