> Mrs. O'Neill's Blog: Leadership in school - for pupils too.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Leadership in school - for pupils too.

Don Ledingham started an interesting thread on the value of Sixth Year, and it’s got me pondering. I’ve been thinking about our school year (see my previous post)and also about our senior pupils. When I started S5 at school I remember feeling more responsible. Staff talked to us in a different way. There were opportunities to show leadership, especially as prefects. We were expected to help supervise younger pupils, either by patrolling the playground, or if it was raining actually being left in charge of classes.

Along with the responsibility we got privileges. We wore a different uniform. We had a common room. We were the first year group to be considered for events which involved representing the school. And something that had never happened before: we were consulted. Then – and here’s a novel idea as far as present day ‘consultations’ seem to go- the thing we requested actually happened.

I’ve heard teachers complain that nowadays senior pupils aren’t interested in taking up a more responsible role within the school. They cite instances in schools where pupils have refused to become prefects, or ridiculed those willing to get involved.

Just noticed Gairloch High School’s blog. At Gairloch they have been interviewing for prefects’ posts. They appear to give clear responsibilities to their S5 and S6. Perhaps that's why pupils feel comfortable applying.

Do you have prefects in your school? Or something else that works better?

Perhaps the real way forward is to give ‘prefecture'(?) a makeover. What could we call it, and what would it entail?


Jem said...

I think our academy struggles with Responsibility feelings amoungst pupils, whether it be the area or goodness knows what else. But there is a general feeling of "importance" when you become 5th year and get a seperate uniform, and its great! :)

Though, having said that, I'm not sure whether we could actually work with Prefects as a school community as there seem to be a the odd few people who most of the year look up to anyway. And also, there is the issue of them being ridiculed and we have enough ability bullying as it is. I guess School Councils are the closet things we have.

I'd like the idea though, not saying I'd want to be one of course. :P

(Ps, this is Jemma from 5th Year English who continually suffers James and his plane obsession :) )

Jem said...


I just noticed the picture, verry nice :P

Haha xx

Sirius said...

Oh, a very interesting - and relevant - choice of subject.

I don't think that senior pupils at the Academy are uninterested in taking a more responsible role, it's just the perception of being a prefect or student council member that puts them off. Basically, it doesn't sound 'cool'.

An easy way to avoid this would be simply changing the name. I couldn't say what would sound more appealing, but if there was a consultation with students then something is bound to turn up.

Unfortunately, I'm not sure how well the prefect system would work at today's Academy. Senior pupils are respected marginally more by the other pupils, but I can't imagine them taking direct orders from us. I'd try and sort out the remaining behaviour and discipline issues at the Academy before trying to introduce something like this.

(And according to wikipedia, "prefecture" is indeed the correct term. ;) )


Mrs. O'Neill's Blog said...

Thanks for your comments Jem -especially insight on the problems of 'ability' bullying. This is a genuine issue in school. Glad you liked the picture ;)

Shaun - like you, I think a name change might be the way to go. A genuine consultation sounds good. Did you have a look at the Gairloch page to see what they do? Interested to hear what you think of it.

David said...

We also have interviews within the S5/S6 who are then whittled to a short leet who have to stand for election by their peers and the staff. Thus we regularly get S6 students taking on huge amounts of responsibilities re charity week and activities days etc. As the newly appointed Senior Pupil said on his poster - it looks good on my personal statement for university....

Mrs. O'Neill's Blog said...

Well, yes - it really does make a difference to their personal statement. And having talked to people who interview prospective students for over subscribed courses - this sort of stuff carries quite a bit of weight.