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Headmaster’s Blog 1 July 2011

July 1, 2011

Ballard School photo

This is the time of year when decisions are reached regarding next year’s Head Boy and Head Girl and their Deputies. Whilst at Ballard we have Year 8 Prefects, it is from the recently appointed Year 10 Senior Prefects that these appointments are made.

Here at Ballard we believe passionately in each individual’s worth. As part of this ethos, we recognize those pupils who command respect, set high standards, can give a lead and those who will be effective role models. Contrary to popular belief, it is not the Headmaster alone who chooses Prefects! The process of selection is designed in itself to be part of the learning structure we espouse. Year 10 pupils who wish to be Prefects write a letter to the Head explaining why they would like the position and what they can offer in the role. Some 43 pupils (out of a year group of 69) applied this year. Each was then interviewed by me on the basis of their letters and in accordance with the published ‘job description’. The outgoing Year 11 Prefects give their opinions by way of a secret ballot whilst staff have a separate discussion of the candidates and make their recommendations. Final decisions are then taken by me within the context of our Senior Management Team of 12 senior staff. Once appointed the newly chosen Prefects ‘sign in’ in front of the whole school at Assembly and pledge to do their best to serve the community. We then pray for them. All Prefects attend a training day in September and the office holders will, for the first time this year, go on a schools’ leadership day in Cheltenham in October.

The ‘top’ positions, the Heads of School and their Deputies, require a further letter of application, a secret ballot of Year 10, input from the outgoing Y11 office holders and then renewed discussion amongst staff and the Senior Management Team. All decisions are made after much consideration and discussion and take account of the ‘vote’ from their peer group. This is a lengthy process and not without some angst! We take so much time and care because we believe that pupil leadership is an important preparation for life beyond school as well as the recognition of its importance within our community. We stress to all that leadership is also very much about service – ‘to serve and not to be served’ to quote a well-known motto (Non ministrari, sed ministrare).

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