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Learning and participating

“I enjoyed it, I found myself diving into what my true values and ambitions are a lot more than I normally would and it was a good form of self reflection.”

Students’ experiences with school and learning and the level of autonomy they are given in childhood and adolescence are critical determinants of their lifetime wellbeing.

The Speaking Out Survey asked students in Years 4 to 12 questions about their views on the importance of regularly attending school, their relationships and sense of belonging at school and the support they receive for learning. It also asked about their opportunities to learn and develop useful skills, their emerging autonomy and being heard.

The key findings are detailed below.

Learning and participating

Engagement in school and learning
  • 1-in-2 Year 4–6 students have attended one primary school. 1-in-10 have attended four or more.
  • More than 2-in-3 high school students have attended one school since starting high school. 1-in-10 have attended three or more.
  • 1-in-3 Year 10–12 students say they are not happy at school, do not feel they belong there and do not like learning.
  • 90% of female Year 4–6 students are happy at school and like learning but only 63% of female Year 10–12 students feel the same.
  • 7-in-10 students usually get along with their classmates but about 5% say they never or rarely do.
  • Most students feel teachers care, believe and listen to them but 1-in-3 high school students feel this is not or only a little true for them.
  • Students, especially girls, experience a decline in their relationships with teachers from primary to high school.
  • Most students feel safe at school, however almost 1-in-5 feel safe only sometimes or less, especially Year 7–9 students.
  • 20% of female and 12% of male high school students have ever been cyber bullied.
  • Among students who had been bullied recently, 85% were bullied at school and 57% were bullied online.
  • 15% of students have ever missed school because they were afraid of being bullied.
  • 1-in-3 Year 10–12 students feel a lot of pressure from schoolwork with more female than male students affected.
  • Less than 1-in-2 Year 4–6 students and only 1-in-4 high school students say they almost always get help from teachers if needed.
  • Most students say their parents regularly ask about their school or homework but more than 1-in-10 report their parents rarely or never do this.
Feeling prepared for and positive about the future
  • 60% of high school students agree it is true they are learning knowledge and skills that will help them in the future.
  • Most Year 10–12 students are allowed to be independently mobile.
  • 1-in-2 female Year 10–12 students are not allowed to cycle independently along a main road and 1-in-4 are not allowed to use public transport without an adult.
  • 4-in-5 students agree they are involved in making decisions affecting them, however female students agree less.

Speaking Out Survey 2021 - Summary report

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More Speaking Out Survey findings