A Year in Review: CEO's End of Year Reflections

With 2023 almost behind us, VicSRC CEO Julia Baron has shared reflections on her first year working with the students of Victoria.

julia on microphone

As we bid farewell to a remarkable year, I'm honoured to reflect on the transformative journey of 2023, my inaugural year as CEO of VicSRC. This year stands as a testament to the collective dedication of Victorian students, our staff team, the Student Executive Committee members, volunteers, and all student voice champions across the state who are committed to revolutionising education in Victoria.

It's been a monumental year for organisational achievement and growth. This year marked the launch of the reformed VCE with the introduction of a Vocational Major to enhance pathways for all students, a cause VicSRC has advocated for over the last five years since students first called for change at Congress 2018.

With this significant step towards more inclusive and accessible pathways, our commitment to advocating for opportunities that ensure every student's success remains unwavering, and we're thrilled to announce the establishment of the first ever Senior Secondary Pathways Reform Student Advisory Panel in 2024, where 14 secondary school students from across Victoria will work directly with Government to improve senior secondary schooling over the coming years. VicSRC is proud to be partnering with the Victorian Government and Department of Education to deliver such a fantastic initiative, and can’t wait to share more about this exciting initiative in the new year.

Our broader advocacy work has also reached new heights, with VicSRC submitting three submissions to parliamentary inquiries this year, including our submission to the Inquiry into the state education system in Victoria, which builds on our 2023 Congress Report.

The report, which was launched in November, analyses  the findings of this year's Congress event, where 113 students from across the state came together to focus on four key priority areas that they raised through the submission of "pitches" earlier in the year. These priority areas focused on the biggest topics of concern for Victorian students: making education inclusive and accessible for all students, student mental health and wellbeing, re-thinking the definitions of success at school and securing greater investments for students, teachers and schools. The report aims to distil the incredible discussions and ideas that came from the day, and identifies key changes Victorian students want to see. These findings will form the basis for our 2024 Advocacy Platform.

The 2022-23 Student Executive Advisory Committee has played a pivotal role in advocacy and media engagements throughout the year, representing VicSRC and the voice of Victorian students with remarkable passion and commitment.  I even had the  pleasure of travelling with the Executive Committee co-chair, Grace, to take VicSRC to the national level in Canberra and Hobart as she participated in consultations for the Australian Department of Education's Review to Inform a Better and Fairer Education System. 

 In addition, representatives from the Executive Committee have been involved in media coverage, panel discussions, and sat on several government advisory committees to ensure the voices of Victorian students were represented at the decision-making table. They have also contributed to regular engagements with the Minister for Education to ensure that student voice is being heard at all levels of decision-making in education.

 Overall, I am delighted to be leading an organisation that represents the astounding students of Victoria. On behalf of the staff, Board, and Executive Committee, I express our gratitude for your support this year and your continued backing of student voice in the years ahead. Wishing you all a relaxing, well-deserved break and a safe, joyous holiday season. We eagerly anticipate an exciting 2024 ahead and look forward to seeing you then!

Julia Baron