Each year, Wellingborough School appoints two Sixth Form students to act as Heads of School, to act as a voice representing pupils of all ages and conveying their thoughts and ideas to senior members of the School. Here, this year’s Heads of School, Max and Katie talk about their roles and their experiences so far.
How did you become Heads of School?
Max: I knew from Year 9 that I wanted to become a prefect. This dream became a reality in the second term of Year 12 when the application process began. We had to write a letter of application that was to be read by the members of the Senior Leadership Team (SLT). We then had two interviews, with the previous Heads of School as well as the members of the SLT, and a group task that saw all the possible applicants working together to tackle an epidemic in a small rural town in Alaska.
Katie: Before the application process started, I knew I wanted to be a part of the prefect body. For this reason, I made sure to involve myself in the School community early on by attending after-school clubs such as Eco Warriors, allowing me to show my leadership skills and dedication to the School. This was also a good opportunity for me to get to know different teachers which has made communicating as Head of School easier. I also took any public speaking opportunities offered to me.
Is the role the same as Head Boy/Girl? If so, why the change of title?
Katie: As society evolves, it is important we include modern changes into our School environment. A recent change has been replacing the title of Head Boy/Girl with Head of School. A person chosen for the position may not identify as a girl or a boy, therefore the title is not appropriate for them. As a School we want to be supportive and inclusive to all our students which is why this change was necessary.
Do you have much interaction with younger pupils in your role?
Max: We noticed, as a group of prefects and from our own experience, the lack of interaction with the younger years. To combat this we established Year Group leads. This assigned two prefects to each year in the Senior School. For example, I am the lead for Year 8. The goal of this is to increase the ease with which the student voice can be heard, as well as to give each year a familiar face they can trust and talk to.
What have you had to do so far?
Katie: The main role of Head of School is to represent and lead the entire student body while listening to the student voice and conveying new ideas to senior members of the School, such as the Headmaster. This is done through fortnightly meetings with the Headmaster and weekly meetings with the prefect body and Senior Leadership Team.
When attending School events, I may be asked to give a speech; on Open Days I have spoken to prospective parents and students giving them an insight into life at Wellingborough. On a day-to-day basis the Heads of School have a responsibility to ensure all the prefects are carrying out their duties to a high standard. From making sure there is a rota for Chapel doors, to making content for and delivering assemblies.
It is important for the Heads of School to communicate with the different groups in School. For example, when we were creating the CLUB plan (Culture Language Understanding and Behaviours) it was crucial that we communicated with the Inclusivity and Pride Soc groups so the collaborative project could be successful, and for each group’s points and ideas to be listened to.
In what way do you hope to make a difference?
Max: I think one thing that all the prefects want to make a difference with is making the School feel safe and inclusive; this was one of the main reasons behind the Wellingborough CLUB initiative. Everybody wants to see the School become an even safer environment for all students to thrive in.
What do you hope to take from the experience?
Katie: I am very thankful for the experience; not only has my confidence grown immensely but I have learnt how to be a good leader, a skill that will be beneficial to me throughout my life. The position has highlighted my strengths and weaknesses and has allowed me to push myself out of my comfort zone. I have also improved my time management skills, as the weekly schedule can build up very quickly!
How do you balance your A level studies with your responsibilities and duties?
Max: It is a difficult task but having a very supportive prefect team and Senior Leadership Team, the balance becomes easier. The main thing I do is plan my week ahead nice and early, this makes everything just a little bit easier!
What are the perks of the job?
Katie: As well as being able to wear the famous red gowns, the best part of the job is having the platform to show what the prefects have achieved. A significant moment for me was when Max and I had a meeting with the Board of Governors to present new initiatives and what we hope to do, and we believe it is important that they hear from the student voice.
Find out more about Wellingborough School on 01933 222427 or visit www.wellingboroughschool.org