Students as leaders: An inquiry into the effects of student leadership opportunities at different levels within a secondary school environment

by Philippa Baines

In a small, all-through school (from early years to post-16), Philippa evaluated six different student leadership projects in her school, examining the kind of teacher support that was necessary to sustain them. She found that fewer boys take up leadership roles from Year 9 onwards. Some students also lost the motivation to take on a leadership role if their ideas were put on hold for a long time. Interestingly, there were more positive outcomes if students volunteered for the roles instead of being assigned them.

Teacher support can focus on giving student leaders a sense of reassurance. One of Philippa’s recommendations is to form a student government to create a hierarchy of support across the range of projects.

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