Distributing Leadership with Your Students
The idea of distributing leadership within the staff body is well embedded in most schools now, but the idea of bringing students on board as part of the leadership team is far newer and less widely practised.
Allowing students to form part of the leadership team is the ultimate way of incorporating student voice into the decision making processes at your school. It also allows students and teachers to work together and can help to ensure that school improvement is headed in a direction that your students are fully on board with. Working as part of a student leadership team also gives students the opportunity to learn key skills that will serve them well later.
Make it Work in YOUR School:
In a nutshell, here are some ground rules for successful student leadership:
- Distribute the responsibility and power for leadership throughout the school crossing a variety of boundaries such as race, class, age, gender, behaviour of students etc.
- Share the decision-making power with the students and value their contributions
- Allow the students to self-manage their own decision-making committees
- Take student opinion into account wherever possible
- Ensure there is a mechanism for group dynamic problem-solving amongst the students
- Alter student timetables so that there is constructive collaborative planning time
The student leadership team in one secondary school, made the following recommendations to smooth the implementation process:
- Celebrate the launch of the scheme with a whole school leadership event
- Decide on the specific roles of the student leadership team and communicate these
- Ensure that student leadership becomes integrated into the curriculum so everyone has a voice
- Use current student leaders to mentor the new student leaders
- Allow students to take their own minutes at meetings and circulate these to staff as these minutes will often differ to those taken by a member of staff
- Don’t be afraid to allow students to use social media to gather feedback
Do you think Student Leadership Teams are a good idea?
Does your school have one? Does it work?
If you would like more information, ideas and strategies, you may find this one day course by Creative Education of help:
Leading Learners: Developing a Student Leadership Team
Raising the standards of schools and colleges across the country through training, consultancy and support.
Check out our latest courses or tailored in-school training options.