Student leadership, voice and agency

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The impact of bullying and student’s rights and responsibilities

Bullying affects students’ ability to learn and achieve in school. Addressing bullying effectively is about developing school cultures that:

  • are inclusive
  • value diversity
  • promote positive, healthy social relationships
  • ensure everyone understands their rights and responsibilities (and can quickly solve problems and disputes that arise).

All students have the right to be treated with respect and dignity. For this to happen, students also need to understand their responsibility to treat other students with respect and dignity.

Students also have rights and responsibilities relating to:

  • personal security and protections from physical, emotional and sexual harassment or abuse from peers or others in the school environment
  • freedom from discrimination
  • participation, to express their views and have a say in matters which affect them
  • an education that nurtures them to their full potential
  • owning property and having it treated with respect
  • being taught, and having demonstrated to them, respect for the rights of others.

Students have a right to have their whānau informed and involved in matters that affect them. Bullying incidents should be dealt with fairly, in a way that protects everyone's dignity and privacy.

Student leadership, voice and agency 

Bullying is often hidden from or not fully understood by adults. Involving students in identifying the level and type of bullying, developing solutions and monitoring the impact is one of the most powerful things a school can do to prevent bullying. There are a range of resources available to schools to regarding student leadership, voice and agency and student wellbeing.

Further information

The Education Review Office

Cognition Education Trust

"Student voice is not an additional process or requirement: it is a source of data within existing pedagogy, systems, and procedures"

The New Council for Education Research


PB4L Resources

Rights of the Child

Office of the Children's Commissioner

The Wellbeing@School survey 

The Wellbeing@School tools (external link)(external link) have been developed by the New Zealand Council for Education Research (NZCER). Wellbeing@School surveys give students and staff a safe way of sharing how they genuinely feel about the school. 

What is student voice?

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What student voice can look like

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Student voice in action

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