School leadership opportunities for your child

As early as primary school, your child will have numerous opportunities to hone their leadership potential. Developing leadership skills allows your child to become more confident and also teaches them valuable life skills that they can take into further study and the workforce. Read on as we explore a few of the options that may be available at their school.

Classroom leadership

Primary and secondary schools run ˜class captain' programs where a student is elected to represent the class and assist with classroom tasks. Tasks can include reading out morning announcements, taking charge of distributing leaflets during class or leading group activities. More recently, schools have introduced the role of environmental officer, which allows elected students to take an active role in promoting ˜green' initiatives around the school, such as keeping the school grounds tidy and encouraging classmates to recycle.

School leadership

In senior primary and secondary years, your child will have the opportunity to take on a bigger leadership role. Depending on the size of their school, this could include anything from the job of school captain, school vice captain or house captain to leading a specialist area such as sport or the arts. Religiously affiliated schools may appoint a faith captain or encourage students to join charity groups linked to organisations such as the St Vincent De Paul Society. Larger schools typically provide greater leadership opportunities, which may see your child leading an extracurricular group such as the debating or public speaking team, or a particular sports team. School leadership roles are usually available in Years 10, 11 and 12. Primary schools typically select Grade 6 students to lead the school in roles such as school captain and vice captain.

Peer support and buddy programs

Schools often run peer support or buddy programs that pair up students from different year levels. These programs provide an opportunity for older students to take on a leadership role, looking after the wellbeing of a younger student while they are settling into school life. In primary school, Preps are often paired up with Grade 6 students, and in high school, Year 7 students with Year 12s. New students in other year levels may also be introduced to a student who can help them get settled.

Student representative groups

The most common of these is the Student Representative Council (SRC). SRCs are most common in secondary schools, and students are generally elected by their peers. The SRC's primary function is to act as the voice of the school, and representatives may also be present on committees that work with staff on events such as the school formal and sports carnivals. State-based SRCs provide an opportunity to get involved on a larger scale. Visit the New South Wales Student Representative Council and Victorian Student Representative Council websites to see how your child can take part.

Extracurricular and co-curricular programs

If your child isn't too keen on raising their hand for a leadership role, schools offer a variety of programs that complement students' classwork and assist them to develop valuable life skills. This includes sports teams, hobby clubs, academic competitions and off-campus experiences such as camps and excursions. Your child's school may even offer overseas trips and exchanges, which are a great way to encourage independence. The Duke of Edinburgh is also very popular, giving students a chance to experience life outside the classroom through a structured, globally recognised program.

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