The inaugural award at King's College, Taunton, which ran from January to June this year, was an intensive mentor-led programme of leadership study and application involving plenty of stretch and challenge. Its purpose was to allow candidates to demonstrate their leadership skills, unlock hidden leadership traits and expose them to challenging leadership scenarios that tested their effectiveness and influence.
By utilising opportunities provided by existing subject societies, houses and co-curricular groups, those who opted to join were encouraged to demonstrate leadership in different aspects of their school life.
Forty-two Lower Sixth pupils applied to join the programme and worked with their assigned mentors to set about organising their first leadership tasks. These included organising a primary school swimming gala, a whole school colour run and out of school activities. During these initial phases, the pupils met regularly with their mentors, and to progress further on the programme, they had to evidence specific instances of using initiative, demonstrating a tangible outcome for their chosen project.
During Activities Week this term, they undertook a short two-day course in leadership theory, that encompassed classroom work such as what makes an effective leader; leadership self-reflection; practical outdoor leadership; and problem-solving tasks. The pupils then followed a challenging two-day leadership exercise on Exmoor. After an initiative session in the sports hall and swimming pool, they were dropped off at random locations on the moor with only a set of coordinates to guide them to their next meal. All information during this phase was only given an hour ahead, so fluid thinking and improvisation were imperative.
History teacher Will Mackenzie-Green was instrumental is getting this programme up and running, and, along with his team of mentors, for making this inaugural year of leadership training such a success.
Commenting he said: “As a capstone to the exercise on day two of navigating Exmoor, the pupils also had to entertain 50 pre-prep children at King’s Hall with little preparation time – this was no mean feat! They did an admirable job! We saw an impressive 38 pupils making it to the end and being awarded their certificates.”
He added: “I now pass on the baton to Head of Business Studies and Head of Careers, Tim Jordan and Clare Lewis, who will take on the challenge of managing the programme next year.”