October 29, 2021

Valuing Student Voice

We believe that student voice is an essential part of a CGGS education, and the culture of an organisation that values ideas and a diversity of perspectives enables this to happen. In valuing the views and perspectives of our students, staff and parents, we all work together towards the best outcomes for all.

Feedback is gained from students in a variety of ways and one of these is our Years 5 – 12 survey. This year we have re-designed our survey using the expertise of an external consultant to ensure that it is robust and built on contemporary research to prompt the most insightful and helpful responses from students.

Our Deputy Head of Senior School – Student Wellbeing, Kath Woolcock, has overseen this important process and I have invited her to share this with you. We also look forward to sharing the insights and outcomes with you in due course.

With best wishes,

Debbie Dunwoody

CGGS Years 5 – 12 Student Survey

At CGGS student voice and student agency are essential components of our school culture, and we regularly collect feedback and engage in discussions with students on important and meaningful issues. We do this with a very real understanding of the powerful benefits that listening to, and acting on student voice can have, including increasing engagement in learning, encouraging collaboration between students and teachers, and creating a positive environment and culture.

Across the year students have many opportunities to share feedback, both formally and informally, including through the Student Representative Council (in both Junior School and Senior School), representation on committees such as the Uniform Committee, program specific questionnaires, focus groups, and through the CGGS Annual Student survey.

Over the past 10 years CGGS has conducted a student survey (they have differed slightly across the years) as one of the most important methods of gathering student feedback and understanding student experience at CGGS.  All students from Years 5 – 12 are given the opportunity to complete this survey and through a series of open and closed questions, anonymously share their opinions and perspectives on CGGS culture as well as the academic, wellbeing and co-curricular programs on offer. The open questions provide the opportunity to expand on aspects of their school experience that they feel most engaged in and those of concern.

In 2021, we engaged Dr Bengianni Pizzirani from the Centre for Evaluation and Research Evidence, Department of Health and Human Services (Victorian Government), to undertake a review and redesign of the CGGS Annual Student Survey. The purpose was to ensure that the questions and data collection methods reflected current research on student wellbeing and learning and that the survey outcomes and actions drive improvement.

Dr Pizzirani has a background in developmental social psychology and behavioural statistics, and he has conducted research and taught in a variety of healthcare and educational contexts across multiple government departments, leading universities, and NGOs internationally.  As a research consultant, he regularly supports organisations in the use of data analytics and pragmatic research designs to drive informed model and program considerations, implementation and improvement.  We are very fortunate to have secured this partnership with him.

Over a four-month period, Dr Pizzirani reviewed our survey by working through a rigorous process of analysis, research and evaluation. He has spent time looking at past CGGS data and reviewed international student wellbeing and learning studies to reframe our survey framework so that it better reflects validated measures and associated outcomes. In collaboration with the wellbeing team, Dr Pizzirani has now designed a more comprehensive data collection set which allows us to contextually measure against national and international standards or norms, providing insights and recommendations that are specific to CGGS students. Furthermore, while all responses are completely anonymous, the new framework of questions has created more robust criteria and demographic insights within student groupings that CGGS can use for comparisons.  This more sophisticated information and analysis will allow us to better identify changes over time, code and map trends and target specific areas for further focus.

The redesigned survey, maps and includes eight key areas of school life that are linked to wellbeing, school culture and learning, and in 2021, will also include an exploration of the impact of COVID-19. A summary of the aspects covered in the survey can be seen in the image below.

The data from this survey, combined with other methods of feedback, will be used to evaluate current programs, analyse areas of success and to identify areas of the student experience and student learning that are to be celebrated as well as those that require further focus.

As we have done in the past, results of this survey will be shared with our school community through the annual report and at year level presentations, and several student focus groups will be established to provide an important space for students to explore the trends and results, and to create meaningful actions and opportunities for our whole community going forward.

We look forward to sharing more with you later this term and in early 2022, and in the meantime, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Kath Woolcock
Deputy Head of Senior School – Student Wellbeing