HANDS UP: Participation in school leadership provides an opportunity to have a positive influence and is an important way to foster skills that will help young people make their way in the world. Student leadership is a great avenue for young people to find their voice.
It gives them opportunities and support to participate in decision-making, and understand their rights and responsibilities as active citizens, not only within the school but alsowider society.
Research suggests that when students are given the skills and opportunity to lead within their schools, they are empowered to have a real impact on their learning and school environment and are prepared to participate meaningfully in their community.
By becoming school leaders, students learn that they havelegitimate perspectives and opinions on issues that matter in the classroom, in the school, and in the community.
They learnhow to think critically, to collaborate with others, to communicate effectively and to participate in discussions, and are provided withplatforms to give their opinions and voice concerns.
They are exposed to the decision making bodies and governance procedures of the school and by participating in voting, they learn how they can influencethose bodies and procedures.
In this way, school leadership is a vehicle thatenable students to develop and implement projects to change and improve school operations, culture, climate or practices.
It might range from broad concepts like making school ‘more fun’, to more specific things like helping improve the way events are run, to organising activities that facilitate student-teacher bonding.
Studies show that if children aren’t engaged inschoolthey will lack the requisite skills to carry into the workforce. As role models to students of all ages, school leaders can play an effective role in encouraging that engagement via peer support, buddying, mentoring or coaching programs.
And through participation in school leadership programs, students learn skills and make contacts that can lead to opportunities outside school, such as part-time jobs, sports coaching positions and involvement in community organisations.
School leadership programs give students get the chance to better not only themselves, but those around them, in meaningful ways that extend beyondschool.