Caringbah High School's captain heads to State Parliament as part of student steering committee

Student voice: Caringbah High School captain Jasper Arthur met with Mark Speakman at State Parliament last month. Picture: Supplied
Student voice: Caringbah High School captain Jasper Arthur met with Mark Speakman at State Parliament last month. Picture: Supplied

Caringbah High School's captain Jasper Arthur was recently part of a student steering committee that made a presentation to the NSW Minister for Education Sarah Mitchell in State Parliament.

Afterwards he met with NSW Attorney-General and State MP for Cronulla Mark Speakman.

Jasper was one of 13 NSW public school students who presented a report to Ms Mitchell about how students could influence education policy.

The 13-member student steering committee presented a draft proposal to State Parliament on February 10 about the formation of a Minister's Student Council.

At Ms Mitchell's instigation, the students had been working together since the start of term 4, 2020, to help develop a structure, rules for governance and membership for the council.

Ms Mitchell announced her plans for the council in August last year and said it would be the peak forum for interaction between NSW public school students, Education NSW and the state government.

At the launch, Ms Mitchell said the council would be co-designed with a student steering committee providing input into how the body would operate and engage students from across the state.

The student proposal includes a 24-member council with three student representatives from every educational directorate or region in NSW.

Under the proposal, representatives would facilitate regional-based forums with students to ensure a diversity of views are able to be brought to the minister's attention.

A key element of the plan is to include students with disabilities, varying academic performance and different living circumstances.

Ms Mitchell was motivated to launch the council after the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the need for a student stakeholder group for consultation.

"While we had principals' organisations, teachers' groups and parents' groups to talk to, what was missing was the student voice," Ms Mitchell said.

"Our most important stakeholders aren't at the table when they need to be. I want to add the [student] council to this group to work together on policy reform."

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