Building Student
Leadership
GEOFF BARTON
King Edward VI School
Building Leadership ...
What do we know about young people?
What do we know about schools?
What do we know about students IN
schools?
How can we improve schools for students?
2 starting-points …
Building Leadership ...
Nowadays all the children behave
like adults and all the adults behave
like children
(Terry Waite)
Building Leadership ...
Schools are places where children go
to watch the adults working
(John West-Burnham)
What do we know about
young people?
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• Childhood obesity fuelled by cartoons
• Teenage pregnancy rates out of control
• UK teenage girls seriously depressed
• Boy stabbed to death for his 30 baseball cap
• Violent TV harms children
• Locals attack binge-drinking and yob behaviour
• 40% of teens want plastic surgery
Being an individual
isn’t just about how
you dress
Self-esteem, not just
self-confidence
“Only dead fish go
with the river”
Doing something for
others isn’t an
optional extra
Sense of pride
Judge me by who I
am, not the number
of qualifications I
have
“It’s our choices,
Harry, that show who
we really are”
What do we know about
schools?
“Going to school is compulsory but learning is
optional” (Louise Stoll, et al)
“Schools teach a 19th century curriculum in
20th century buildings to 21st century students”
(John West Burnham)
What do we know about
young people and schools?
NFER survey of 14 year olds:
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• 50% say most of the time they don’t
want to go to school
• 25% think teachers are too easily
satisfied
• 20% deny being happy at school
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Involvement in extra-curricular
activities is one of their most
positive experiences
40% of all young people in
schools = “the disappointed”
(Michael Barber)
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Work is too easy in Year 7; then
as it gets harder in Year 8 they
lose support of parents and less
praise from teachers.
Only in Year 11 does the curve
begin to rise again
What students tell me …
1: Think of people in music, media, sport, politics.
Who do you see as positive role-models?
Michael Jordan; Johnny Wilkinson; Richard
Branson; Marcus Trescothick; Gary Lineker;
David Beckham; Paul Merton; Tiger Woods;
Slash; Thierry Henry; Bob Geldof; Rolling Stones
2: Think of teachers who motivate you most
successfully. What do they do?
Mr G - funny; tells us what we need to know; knows his stuff
Mr W - teaches well; encouraging; takes no rubbish from anyone
Mr W - honest; encourages everyone, not just the best
Mr P - energetic; makes lessons active
Mrs C - lively; fun
Mrs W - explains clearly; not patronising.
3: How could we encourage you to take on
leadership responsibilities around school?
•Give everyone in Year 11 someone to look after in Year 9
•Give us more responsibility
•Get us teaching younger students - eg how to play the guitar
•Better rewards policy
•Extra privileges
•Give us more say
•Rewards - eg non-uniform
•Let us run clubs.
4: Put these in rank order:
•Lessons
•Breaks / lunchtimes
•Extra-curricular activities
•Weekends
100% like weekends best
79% like lessons least (98% in bottom two)
50:50 split between breaks / extra-curricular
5 ways of developing a
leadership culture through
increased participation …
Create a non-schooly environment
• The look of a school is not superficial
• Images
• Plants
• Spotlights
• Cheesy motivators
• Humane toilets and toilet checks
• Opening up rooms
• Assembly roles
• School coat; achievement assembly suits
• Duty team approach / Barton Breakfasts
• Power quotations.
“ The ultimate measure of a man is not
where he stands in moments of comfort
and convenience, but where he stands at
times of challenge and controversy.."
(Martin Luther King)
“It’s our choices, Harry, that
show who we really are"
(Albus Dumbledore)
"I've missed over 9,000 shots in my
career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26
times I've been trusted to take the gamewinning shot . . . and missed. I've failed
over and over and over again in my life.
And that is why I succeed."
(Michael Jordan)
Give School Council teeth
• Terms of reference
• Budget
• Direct access to the Kingmakers
• Sexy, feisty, action-driven (not a talking-shop)
• Action groups
• Involve in L&T, curriculum planning, evaluation
• Report small successes
• Give it quick hits
• Power breakfasts.
FOCUS ON LEARNING
• Develop ‘house-style’ on behaviour & language
• Spell out expectations, but as few rules as possible
• Get teachers talking less
• Learning sessions, not lessons
• Blur the distinction between in / out of class
• Use assessment for learning / starters
• Expect leadership in lessons
• Re-model the curriculum
• Keep getting student feedback
• Develop an all-embracing accreditation system.
ACTIVELY BUILD PARTICIPATION
• Stop playing Government & Opposition
• Survey needs and preferred timings
• Broaden your thinking - martial arts, yoga, boys dance
• Achievement assemblies celebrate out-of-school achievements
• Review days go beyond the academic
• Use accelerated learning days / conferences activities
• Seize every opportunity for contests - eg debating,
magistrates
• Set targets
• Create perks for participation - eg fast-track
lunches.
ENDLESSLY FOCUS ON THE
STUDENT PERSPECTIVE
• Quote students’ views on learning and environment
• Use surveys for facts and attitudes
• Think: “Would I be happy for my child to be taught in this lesson?”
• Challenge media stereotypes through charity events,
concerts, technical team
• Student news in assemblies and notices
• Be tough on expectations: give clarity
• Provide role-models.
“Do not confine your children to
your own learning, for they were
born in another time”
(Hebrew Proverb)
Building Student
Leadership
GEOFF BARTON
King Edward VI School
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Building Early Leadership