A key aspect of developing a positive culture within a school is ensuring opportunities for students to develop leadership skills and to work closely with other students. Here at Smithdon High School, students work alongside staff to improve the school community through small-scale projects such as litter picks and bake sales, through to larger scale events, such as fundraising for annual charities as Children in Need or Comic Relief.
Each summer, Year 10 students are invited to apply for the positions of Head Students. Following receipt of their formal, written applications, the students experience a selection process akin to a job interview, including a presentation to the whole school and a formal face-to-face panel interview. The successful candidates take on a significant role, becoming visible ambassadors for the school at both in-school events and local community events, such as the annual Hunstanton Remembrance Parade and Service where they lay the Smithdon High School wreath at the memorial on behalf of the school.
Those who are unsuccessful in the key roles, however, are also acknowledged for their strengths and are often invited to take on other roles as part of the Student Leadership Team.
Students willing to be part of the student council submit a letter of application at the start of the academic year detailing their ambition to be involved. The School Council consists of two elected members from each year group (Years 7-10). The council meets every half term to discuss issues raised within tutor groups and year groups, changes to daily school life and how the school and its students can positively impact the school and the local community.
Council meetings are led by the School’s Year 11 Head Students and include the elected representatives alongside the Year 11 Student Leadership Team. The Students then report minutes of discussions back to members of the Senior Leadership Team to discuss any potential next steps.
The student council works with the school leadership to help raise money for local charities and national events, for example Children In Need, Sport and Comic Relief.
The student council organised a whole school food bank donation. Pupils were asked to donate items of food that could be donated to the Hunstanton Food Bank during the Christmas period to help members of the local community. Members of the council delivered the items to the local Food Bank and were given a tour and explanation of how the Food Bank operates. The school donated nearly 350 items.
There are plans for an Easter Egg donation event later this term.
Student Leadership Team
There is a group of students, selected based on their excellent behaviour, conduct and effort within school, to be our Student Leadership Team. Alongside the Head Students, the Student Leadership Team represent the school during awards evenings, open evenings, parents’ evenings, and tours of the school. These leaders are at the heart of all our events and are a true reflection of the Work Hard, Be Kind and Smile that runs through the student body.
Developing leadership skills is a vital part of the PE department. All students will develop leadership and communication skills during their PE lessons. The department also offers a wide range of coaching, leadership and officiating opportunities through its links with the West Norfolk School Sports Leadership academy. This gives students the opportunity to take part in sporting qualifications and be used as Sports leaders in cluster primary school sporting events.
Throughout the year, Smithdon students from a range of year groups are selected to be Sports Leaders at Primary school cluster events in the local area. These include festivals for sports such as football, rugby, cricket and hockey where leaders are involved in officiating and scoring games. The year ends with area sports which takes place at Smithdon where sports leaders are selected to run a wide range of athletics events for our cluster primary schools.
Year 8 students have the opportunity to take part in a ‘Beyond the Baseline’ programme, which is a tennis-based leadership programme led by a Youth Sports Trust athlete. The programme finishes with a student-led tennis festival for a local primary school with our students displaying all the leadership skills they have learnt.
Year 10 students develop their sports leadership skills during their core PE lessons with a series of leadership based topics. In the summer term, the leadership skills developed are also put into practice when we host the Smithdon Primary School Sports Festival. Over 350 Years 3 & 4 pupils from 10 local primary schools attend an Olympic-Sport-themed sports festival, fully organised and delivered by our Year 10 Sports Leaders over one day.