About the Minister's Student Council

The Minister's Student Council will be the peak forum for interaction between NSW public school students, Education NSW and the NSW Minister for Education.

Mission statement

To be an innovative student voice that designs, implements, and contributes to inclusive and positive change in the NSW education system.

Why is the Minister's Student Council needed?

When student lives were turned upside down by the COVID-19 pandemic Education Minister Sarah Mitchell realised there was no formal structure through which to access student views. “While we had principals’ organisations, teachers’ groups and parents’ groups to talk to, what was missing was the student voice,” Ms Mitchell said.

The Minister called for a steering committee to design a student council that could work with her and education department leaders, consulting on policy reform and also highlighting issues of concern to students.

The 13-member committee worked on developing a structure for the council, which will fill this important stakeholder gap.

The Minister's Student Council will be officially known as the DOVES (Department of Student Voices in Education and Schools).

What will it do?

The council will enable students right across NSW to have direct input and influence on education and school policy through discussions and consultation with the Minister for Education and NSW Education stakeholders.

The council will:

  • Provide forums for student opinions, ideas, feedback and concerns in regards to their education and schooling;
  • Represent a diverse range of student voices in order to have a direct and positive influence on education and school policy;
  • Advocate for positive student engagement and inclusivity through means of educational improvement and innovation in NSW schools.

Students will decide the exact setup of the council meetings, the issues to be discussed and what the Government can do to make our state the best education system in the country.

How will the council operate?

The Minister's Student Council, known as DOVES (Department of Student Voices in Education and Schools), will involve 24 advocates from each of the eight educational directorates in the State. Three students from each directorate will be elected to the council.

These advocates will be supported within their directorate by a DOVES champion – a teacher who will help with logistical arrangements and leadership training for DOVES members.

The DOVES council will meet virtually twice a term with the Minister invited to participate in the final term meeting.

As required by the Minister, the DOVES may be asked for input into policy and current issues throughout the year.

DOVES forums will also be held at a regional/local level to ensure wider consultation on particular matters that are current and pertinent to the future of education and/or relevant to particular groups of students within schools.

How do I get involved?

Applications for the DOVES are now closed.

A panel will view the submissions and invite shortlisted applicants to a video interview by three panellists including a student; teacher and department representative.

The DOVES representatives will be announced on 10 May with the first council meeting to be held on Wednesday 19 May.

Students that are unsuccessful in being on the DOVES council, will be invited to be part of the regional-level DOVES forums.

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