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Setting the bar high
I've written previously about leadership existing at all levels within an organisation, rather than just being the preserve of one or two single individuals.
When this works well, great things happen, for we increase our collective capacity for change and we find ourselves considering viewpoints different to our own and giving priority to others' passions, not just our own.
Our Year 9 students are a classic example of taking on leadership challenges and accepting responsibility for what's important to them. There’s no question of them hanging back on the off-chance they might muddle through and end up at their desired outcome by happy accident. For them, a much greater degree of certainty was required, and the way in which to achieve this was to take charge.
A number of students have benefited in recent months from the support of Young Lives Foundation, a local charity that supports young people by mentoring, befriending and acting as an advocate in challenging situations. Young Lives has made such an impact on students in Year 9 that they wanted to be able to give something back.
This isn’t very unusual, until you consider the way in which our students accomplished this. They set goals, planned their course of action and then set about achieving their vision. There simply was no thought given to sitting back and waiting for someone else to do it!
We returned from the May half-term break to find that students had already planned a publicity campaign, knew that they wanted last Friday to be a Year 9 non-uniform day, and had identified a cake sale as being a popular way to raise charity funds.
When I was presented with the proposal, it was a complete and fully-formed idea. I can’t tell you how unusual that is! Whenever anyone (and yes, I mean teachers too!) brings me a suggested plan, I always have more questions to ask – there’s always a gap that has yet to be filled, or a piece of research or justification that has been omitted – however this time there was nothing more to add; everything had been thought through.
I can’t commend our students’ leadership enough, and all credit to them that they have raised in excess of £600 for Young Lives Foundation to date. This wasn’t a project that we set them, and it wasn’t a task that we asked them to complete. Instead, they had the vision and motivation needed to set a goal, and then they had the skill to bring this to fruition.
So, to all our students, the challenge has been set (and the bar has been set high by Year 9!).
What can you achieve when you take the lead?