On a mission to improve Student Rights
Braybrook College student David Trevorrow is advocating for the voices and views of students, inspiring his peers to speak up and take action to enrich their educational experiences and be the future of positive change in their communities.
He believes that young people can make valuable contributions to school councils and has advocated to the Deputy Premier and Minister for Education, The Hon. James Merlino, for student representatives' voting rights on the councils. He has also consulted widely on government strategies for improved education outcomes, including the Department of Education's Literacy and Numeracy Strategy and Students Complaints and Concerns Resource.
'It is important that young people are not being locked out of key decisions and that their views are taken seriously', David says.
As an inaugural member of the Youth Advisory Group for the Office for the Commissioner for Privacy and Data Protection, David has brought a young person's perspective on privacy and been a key leader within the team. David played a role in how the 2016 Privacy Awareness Week activity was observed in Victoria, designing and sitting on a panel for students, parents and public service employees to discuss young people's views on privacy. David has also conducted an investigation and report into the privacy features of child-oriented Victorian Government websites.
At VicSRC, David has acted as Chair, leading the development of VicSRCs' new four year strategic plan and creating innovative new programs including the VicSRC Ambassador program which aims to activate and bring together SRCs members from schools across the state.
Nina Laitala, Executive Officer of the VicSRC describes David as an authentic and inspiring leader. 'The impact of David's contribution to the VicSRC will continue to be felt in years to come within the organisation and within the Victorian education system,' Nina says.
The VCAA caught up with David to learn more about his motivation and his achievements.
Your advocacy has focused on bridging understanding between educational leaders and student bodies. Why it is important to you to that young people's voices are heard?
I believe that social justice is best achieved through inter-generational and democratic communication in which young people have agency to make a difference to their futures.
As students we can bring different perspectives to the table and only through sharing our concerns and priorities can we inform and take part in decision making to the benefit of everyone.
At your school you have led the redesigning of the SRC. Why did you see a need to make significant changes?
Groups like school SRCs have the capacity to positively influence not only school culture but also governance. At my school I wanted to expand the role of the SRC from an organisation focused on fundraising and social events, to be seen as a legitimate voice for all students.
To do this, I consulted across the school to create an SRC Charter and a Student Values Platform, outlining the views and wants of the majority of students to enable students and teachers to work together collaboratively.
We now have an SRC where students feel comfortable approaching us with their concerns and know we have the capacity to stand up for them and turn their ideas into action.
Through your work you have focused on documenting change and training upcoming leaders. Tell us why that is important to you?
To ensure the sustainability of the organisations and causes I care about, it is critical that the next generation of student leaders be empowered and supported.
For me this means not only building the capabilities of individuals, but also creating systems and structures where anyone can become a leader. School leadership roles are often defined by a stream where it might only be high achieving students that are asked to be leaders. But diversity is important for student leadership groups.
When I was younger I was very shy and did not have the capacity to speak up for myself. I remember what that felt like and that is why it is important for me to speak up for others and help them become leaders.
What are your plans for the future?
I'm planning on creating a leadership program for Year 8 students that focusses on principles of student voice and social justice. I want to encourage younger students to be proactive in their community while simultaneously building their aspirations and self-confidence to drive change. The program would culminate in the participants working in groups to conduct a Community Leadership Project, the results of which would be presented to their parents, teachers and peers.