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Voices into Action (VIA) Toolkit

A digital resource supporting learner and family participation in educational decision-making

Space: Giving learners and families the opportunity to share their voices

Checklist: How to create a safe and inclusive environment to express views
  • Gain participants’ informed consent. Provide full, accessible, diversity-sensitive and age-appropriate information about the participation process. This includes the scope, purpose, potential outcomes and impact 

  • Provide a safe, trusted, respectful, inclusive and accessible atmosphere 

  • Ensure mutual agreement about timing and location that is accessible and convenient for all participants. For example, the activity can take place in-person at a public place like a school or park, in a private space or online 

  • Be clear and transparent around the topics, purposes, methods and outcomes. Topics should be meaningful and of interest to the individual or group 

  • Share relevant and accessible information ahead of the activity to prepare participants and answer questions

  • Assign a designated person or organisation to oversee the process and remain accountable to the participants 

  • Provide participants with space and opportunities to pursue their own agendas and initiate activities, drawing on their perspectives and skills

Practical tools

European Agency for Special Needs and Inclusive Education

Guidelines for effective communication with learners in focus groups or interviews

This resource outlines principles of effective communication and tips for creating space to listen to learners, including how to formulate and ask questions. It draws from the Supplementary guidance: Listening to learners on inspection created by Estyn, Wales’s education and training inspectorate.