Nurture student leadership to impact student success

There is strong evidence that students who are given a wide range of opportunities to develop and practise leadership skills are better prepared for life beyond school.

It would be impossible to list all the opportunities students might have to take on leadership roles in a school so here is just a flavour of what a school might offer.

Many student leadership activities will focus on improving the quality of learning and teaching in the classroom, supporting the school’s aim to be a place where everyone enjoys learning and is creative – trying new things, finding solutions and embracing their responsibilities.

Why develop student leadership?

The aim is to:

  1. Empower students to work in partnership with staff towards shared goals.
  2. Enable creativity to flourish so that a school community benefits from the wealth of experiences, ideas, skills and sense of fun that students bring.
  3. Provide opportunities for students to develop leadership skills through a variety of inspiring, challenging and valued projects which impact positively on learning, teaching and well-being for both students and staff.
  4. Prepare students for Higher Education and for achieving personal and professional excellence in life after formal education.

Our top 6 ideas for student leadership and mediation as part of a positive behaviour plan:

  1. Developing a student ambassador programme
  2. Train Anti-bullying leaders
  3. Establish Anti-smoking student leaders
  4. Embed transition leaders – Year 7 students working with learners in feeder primary schools
  5. Work with Peer Mentors – Year 11 students working with Year 9 learners, Year 9 students supporting Year 7 learners
  6. Establish, review or develop a School Council

The requirements

The rationale for developing student leadership in your school is found in Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child which sets out the right of children to express an opinion and to be included in decisions that involve and affect them.

Further help

The British Council’s Connecting Classrooms fully funded unit on student leadership and personal development provides your students, colleagues and yourself with the knowledge, skills and understanding to embed student leadership in the heart of outstanding learning, teaching and progress in your school.

It enables teachers and their students to engage with:

  • Formal and informal learning opportunities to develop individuals as leaders.
  • Processes and structures for student representation and the incorporation of students’ views into decision making in the life of your school.

Specifically it will teach you how to:

  • Establish, review or develop a School Council
  • Develop a student ambassador programme to include:
    • Leadership skills
    • Public speaking skills
    • Lesson delivery skills
    • Lesson planning
    • Effective lesson delivery

For more information visit: Student Leadership and Development.