In light of recent cabinet announcements, VicSRC would like to extend its thanks and reflect on the positive work of outgoing Minister for Education, the Hon. Natalie Hutchins MP, and welcome the newly appointed Minister for Education and Deputy Premier, the Hon. Ben Carroll MP.
VicSRC looks forward to working together with Minister Carroll to continue to create opportunities for genuine student voice, agency, and leadership in shaping Victoria’s education system.
Minister Carroll’s appointment is a clear demonstration to VicSRC that the Allan Government continues its focus on retaining and improving Victoria's status as the Education State. We are confident that his leadership and collaboration will continue to foster positive outcomes for all Victorian students.
VicSRC also wishes to extend a warm thank you to Minister Hutchins for her dedication and commitment to student voice. During her time as Minister for Education, Minister Hutchins has overseen a significant and important program of reform work to improve outcomes for all Victorian students.
Her commitment to the health and wellbeing of Victorian students has ensured more than 1,100 schools now access the Schools Mental Health Fund and Menu. This paired with her commitment to ensuring equitable access to quality education for all students across Victoria, regardless of where they live, how they prefer to learn, or what their future aspirations are, has seen Victoria's ambitious and progressive program of education reform continue to improve outcomes for students of all backgrounds, circumstances and abilities.
It’s clear that this positive progress must continue if we are to meet the needs of Victoria’s students who continue to speak loudly and clearly on the issues they care most about.
Students continue to struggle in the post-pandemic context, and they feel that more must be done to support their transition back to in-person learning and to deliver the additional mental health and wellbeing support they need.
Students need more from their teachers, whether it is one-on-one support, or tailored modes of teaching which better suit their diverse learning needs. They, too, recognise that teachers are overworked and undervalued.
Students are searching for positive experiences at school, but are finding fewer opportunities to access those experiences. This is due to an overwhelming pressure to achieve academic excellence, and a decline in extra-curricular activities offered by their school communities.
These are big and enduring challenges facing Victoria’s students. But we can achieve positive outcomes by ensuring that the voices of students are not only heard, but feature as integral and respected contributors as part of ongoing education reform in Victoria.
Working to integrate genuine student voice and participation into education reform is essential because students are best placed to tell us what they need. We look forward to working with Minister Carroll to ensure all students have the opportunity to inform education policy in Victoria.