“Our vision for leadership is to provide opportunities for all of our students to develop and apply the skills required to be an effective leader of themselves and others.”
Allowing students to have a proactive voice within their own school community is a priority for ACG foundation staff member, Jackie Webb, who has overseen the Student Leadership programme since its inception in 2016.
“I love being a part of the evolving student leadership structure as the school grows” says Jackie. “Our dynamic, innovative environment allows students to be involved in a diverse range of leadership opportunities. Students thrive when they feel a sense of agency and ownership.”
ACG student leaders are in the unique position of helping to establish their own leadership processes. They are given an excellent platform to not only understand the parameters and prioritisation of situations which affect their everyday school lives, but to develop a voice and the confidence to use that voice.
Meeting with the full Student Leadership team once a week, Jackie also has a weekly meeting with the Head Prefect (Laoise McCarthy) and the two Deputy Heads. She believes “leadership inspires us to be the best version of ourselves – reaching our potential while supporting and encouraging each other. There are so many benefits for students in leadership roles, especially showing up as the best version of themselves and encouraging others to do the same.”
In addition to creating a strong sense of connection, pride and respect, many other life-skills gained from student leadership initiatives are easily transferrable to both the wider world and future careers.
“Forming opinions and having the integrity to listen to and value the opinions of others (especially when you don’t agree), striving for excellence, and sharing a collaborative vision while taking equal responsibility for the pathway towards achieving it, are all attributes required in the workplace” explains Jackie.
“Everyone has the potential to be a leader because leadership includes a set of skills which can be practised and developed” she continues. “It can be fostered by connecting with teachers who encourage students to take on responsibilities that they might otherwise shy away from and by being inspired when hearing about experiences from current student leaders.”
Jackie finds running the student leadership team extremely rewarding and “loves being a part of the journey that each student experiences as they grow into the role, being a part of the success that the students feel when an event goes well, and having the opportunity to work alongside a group of enthusiastic, innovative teenagers as they navigate the role.”