We believe that leadership and a sense of service are things that should be developed from an early age and our journey starts in Nursery and continues through to Sixth Form and beyond. To enable this, we actively place pupils in positions of responsibility where they can learn what it means to lead, learn and serve.
Leadership opportunities exist in all areas of School life and informal and formal learning opportunities are promoted. We encourage all pupils to take on responsibilities which support the work of the School and benefit others, linking with our community journey. Leadership is not just about enthusing others, it is about empowering others to move forward to a shared goal and serving the community.
The very youngest children in Nursery take on leadership responsibilities within their classes and are encouraged to display care, courtesy and reliability in so doing. With access to our Forest School, Pre-prep children take part in games and explorations which allow the children opportunities to engage with the natural environment and to discover their inner strength and resolve. Further up the School, Year 3 – 6 pupils have the opportunity to be appointed to our extremely vibrant and active School Council.
In Year 5 the pupils are paired with pupils in Year 2 and act as mentors to the younger pupils, helping them to prepare for their transition into Year 3. This provides opportunities for the pupils to offer support and show empathy as well as acting as good role models. These leadership opportunities continue into the Senior School with Junior Prefects in the Second Form mentoring the new First Form pupils and the Lower Sixth mentoring new Third Form pupils all in the service of each other and the School.
By Year 6, the pupils are ready for more responsibility and they undertake a range of duties as prefects, house captains, head pupils, monitors and librarians. They confidently act as tour guides to visitors to the School and take great care of our School animals. They learn how important it is to act responsibly and to show self-discipline.
SVPS children will further develop their leadership skills whilst on residential trips and day trips by taking part in team building activities. This extends to the Senior School with the Junior Leadership Course, which is designed to give a heightened sense of personal responsibility and understanding of teamwork and the different roles within the team. This acts as a building block for their time in the Combined Cadet Force in the Third Form and beyond. The CCF allows many skills to be developed and enhanced. It is about opportunity, meeting challenges and the growth of interpersonal skills with the development of teamwork, community and leadership at its core. Whilst in the CCF the pupils have the opportunity to take the BTEC Level 2 and the BTEC Level 3 in Public Services which, at its core, covers leadership and teamwork.
The skills in leadership developed from Nursery onwards are best observed in the Duke of Edinburgh Award. In the expedition section leadership is where a pack is shared amongst all when a pupil is struggling, taking charge when morale is down and knowing when to step back to allow others to practise leadership and what words of encouragement to give to help the whole team make it to the end.
One of the areas of the School where leadership and service opportunities abound is the Prefect system, leading to a few special individuals being Head of School. Alongside this there is the House system with Heads of Houses and captains of House teams with each individual utilising leadership skills alongside their particular area of expertise. The vertical tutor system allows senior pupils to act as mentors and role models to younger pupils and to develop their leadership skills in a positive and encouraging environment.
Individual leadership skills
Leadership and service come in many forms and at SVS we recognise this by allowing pupils to develop their own individual areas of expertise. We take the interests and enthusiasm of the individual pupil and give them the opportunity to develop leadership skills in that particular area whether, for example, as a leader of an orchestra or choir, on the playing fields as a sports captain or vice-captain or in a prefect or mentor role: all pupils have the opportunity to become a beacon of excellence and to serve the community.
We believe that leadership can be developed in all and from Pre-prep to Sixth Form we work in partnership with the pupil to advance their skills, values and attitudes. No pupil leadership journey will be the same, nor should it be, but the end result, of a competent, confident individual who has accepted and overcome the challenges put before them is the same for all.