As we seek to “create tomorrow’s citizens today”, it is imperative that we offer opportunities and development for our young people to take on both leadership roles and also understand the importance of volunteering, in order to support and improve our community. Indeed from the youngest children to our older young people, we find that our students are eager to help out in our community both within school and within their own interest and hobby communities outside of school. Some simply enjoy volunteering, being part of a team and carrying actions and tasks. Others want and enjoy greater responsibility and ultimately accountability, initiating change and enjoying seeing the impact of their ideas coming to fruition.
Student voice is equally important to capture both formally and informally; our students feel listened to and able to share their voice.
The values and traits which we promote and espouse as an all through school, are vital as we seek to develop and create opportunities for leadership. Positive leadership should have the community at heart and be seen as an act of “service” to the wider community (as opposed to self gratification). Leaders need to be resilient, courageous, caring, honest and patient.
We continuously seek to create various opportunities for student leadership and for our young people to develop leadership skills. Indeed many of our alumni report back on how their time at Simon Balle equipped them to become leaders and excellent employees. We know that many of them are successful in their area of work, lead teams and make a real difference to the communities in which they live and serve.
Examples of how we do this are: form representatives, music ambassadors, sports leaders, House representatives, e-safety ambassadors, student librarians, sixth from volunteers in the Larch, one to one tutoring and also student focus groups.
Student Leaders help out with our younger students listening to them read, helping them in class and working as buddies for KS3 students.
In the Larch, students develop their leadership skills in a wide variety of ways such as during group work across the curriculum, working with younger peers and more.
In Year 5, all students are trained as sports leaders by Hertford and Ware School Sports Partnership so that they can support their younger peers at play and lunch times by organising and leading playground activities. They learn how to be organised, responsible, inclusive, respectful and communicate effectively when leading in any situation.
As students choose to apply for Year 6 leadership roles, they learn valuable skills for life such as learning to write applications to explain why they are best suited to the role they are interested in. Year 6 student leadership roles include: music ambassadors, Larch librarians, Eco-Leaders, Digital leaders and sports ambassadors. Each role requires commitment and holds different responsibilities that involve leading and supporting their peers and teachers.
One of the first roles for the newly appointed Year 12 Head Boy and Girl, and Deputy Head Boy and Girl is to support the application process for the Larch Head Boy and Girl. The role is important in representing the Larch and being role models for their peers. The Larch students, who choose to apply, write an application outlining how they demonstrate all of our school values, inside and outside of school. They then meet the Head Boy, Head Girl and deputies to have an informal group discussion where they bring an object which represents them; the shortlisted students then take them on a tour of the Larch. This process gives the Larch students valuable life skills which helps prepare for secondary school and life beyond school, such as when applying for jobs, to become ‘tomorrow’s citizens today.’
We are looking, post-Covid Lockdown to re-launch several initiatives and programmes including our Student Parliament and a “diversity group”. This focus is integral to our “character development“ programme, as our children and young people learn how to work with others and develop those civic virtues and values needed to be agents of change and good neighbourly citizens.