St Francis de Sales College, SA (B)

Introduction – Civics and Citizenship focus

The Student Representative Council (SRC) at St Francis de Sales College encourages student voice in making decisions to do with the management of the school’s learning environment. The school has sought to raise the profile of its SRC and teaches students about democratic processes that include voting and representation.

Segment 1: School context

St Francis de Sales College is a Catholic, co-educational R–12 school in Mount Barker, South Australia. Within easy reach of Adelaide, Mount Barker is undergoing a transformation from a semi-rural town to an outer suburb of the city. While the school’s population is primarily ‘middle-class’ from traditional family settings, students’ civics and citizenship knowledge varied widely; and the teachers in the Civics and Citizenship Education program felt there was a need to emphasise connections between student’s civic participation and their civic knowledge.

Segment 2: Why an SRC?

The Student Representative Council (SRC) at St Francis de Sales College is seen as an opportunity for students to convert the theory they have learnt about citizenship into action. The SRC provides a vehicle for student voices as well as giving them opportunities to lead, initiate change and make decisions regarding issues that students view as important.

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Video length: 0:50

Segment 3: How does the SRC work?

The students at St Francis de Sales College conduct election campaigns for the Student Representative Council (SRC). The candidates are then democratically elected into leadership positions by their classmates. Weekly meetings are held with each representative’s class to find out about the issues that are concerning students. The issues are added to the SRC’s meeting agenda for discussion and possible action. The minutes of the SRC meetings are posted on the school’s intranet so all students can access them.

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Video length: 1:13

Segment 4: Real decision making

Before making a decision, the Student Representative Council (SRC) at St Francis de Sales College surveys the entire student body to find out their opinions on issues, reflecting the democratic process. The surveys reveal the student body’s short- and long-term wants and needs. This process enables the student representatives to plan for the future and determine common ground for making decisions that affect all students. Some of the outcomes of the students’ decision making include:

  • repairing the toilets and the installation of soap dispensers
  • organising interactive whiteboards for the classrooms
  • providing benches around the schoolyard to provide a place for students to eat
  • working with the school’s architects to have input into the design of new classrooms.

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Video length: 2:44

Segment 5: Is the SRC making a difference?

The Student Representative Council (SRC) at St Francis de Sales College is making a difference to the school’s culture and also to the personal development of the representatives themselves. The students acknowledge that the SRC is providing them with opportunities for responsibility, active listening and respecting their peers (their constituents). Students are aware of the process for initiating change, making informed decisions and participating in a community. The Civics and Citizenship knowledge and skills being taught in the classroom, as well as the dispositions and values being fostered, are applied to SRC meetings. This has resulted in a move away from individual students’ demands of ‘I want’ to collective responses such as ‘8E would like’.

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Video length: 2:53

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