Student Leadership Groups
Mayflower High School provides many opportunities for young people to develop leadership and representation skills and we entrust pupils with responsibilities commensurate with their strengths and abilities. Formal pupil leadership (Full School Council, Prefect System, Mayflower Ambassadors, Transition Leaders and Peer Support Programme) provides important benefits for both the pupil and the school.
Full School Council
At Mayflower High School we encourage the involvement of young people in decision making. The School voices strong support for pupil involvement in school decision making and improvement. For school councils to be truly effective, school council members and the school community they serve must recognise individual responsibilities.
The Assistant Headteacher: Student Welfare and Standards chairs the termly meetings. The vice-chair is elected by members of the school council. The chair, in collaboration with the vice-chair, sets the school council meeting agenda. The school council chair clearly focuses on the functions and responsibilities of the school council and constantly ensures that school council discussions focus on improving the teaching and learning environment for all students, rather than focusing on the specific or isolated issues of any one individual.
The membership of The Full School Council extends across the whole student population, with one male and one female student from; each year group 7 – 11; Head Boy and Girl from the Sixth Form; Senior Prefect; Mayflower Ambassadors; Peer Supporters; and Billericay Youth Town Council. The Full School Council represents the aspirations of students in their school community; playing an important role in driving school improvement. Each member of the council receives a badge denoting their affiliation.
Mayflower High School’s council is important in offering a formal, democratic, transparent and accountable whole-school forum for pupil participation, linking to the broader governance framework of a school. The areas in which pupils have been able to input into decision making included; teaching and learning processes; physical resources; safeguarding including cyber bullying; anti-bullying initiatives, recycling policies; fundraising activities and charities; and catering provision. Year group representatives are charged and supported to address their respective groups in assembly and present the main discussion points from the meetings. In this way, council members are managing the expectations of their peers and helps them understand the purposes of pupil voice, what proposals will and will not be feasible and the time it can take to achieve change. At Mayflower High School this genuine provision for pupil voice, with power and influence, ensures that pupils have a good understanding of their rights, but also their responsibilities.
Prefects have the potential to influence the school environment and the behaviour of their fellow pupils by becoming advocates for positive change in the school community. It has been proven that when children actively participate in leadership in school life, and their ideas and opinions are listened to and valued, they feel respected and encouraged to make further contributions. The benefits to the school and the pupils include:
Increased communication skills;
Greater commitment to the school from the wider student body;
Positive influences on the climate of the school;
A strengthened school spirit;
Increased co-operation from all pupils;
A network of support for the pupil body.
The Prefectorial Team comprises of pupils who are selected based on their level of: responsibility and integrity; maturity; self confidence and initiative; communication and organisational skills. During the Autumn Term of Year 10, the Head of Year and Student Support Manager will invite pupils in year 10 to apply for the post of Senior Prefect or Prefect for the remaining spring and summer terms of year 10 and into year 11. A core of 10 Senior Prefects will be selected, according to their performance in the team building exercises, formal interview and shadowing phase. Ratification and selection of the Senior Prefects will be conducted by the Head of Year 10, Student Support Manager and Assistant Headteacher: Student Welfare and Standards. Prefects are expected to epitomise the values of the school in terms of exemplary conduct and adoption of a positive attitude in school. Our prefects role model, inspire and challenges the pupil community to espouse the school’s shared values. They attend school functions and events and operate duties.
School prefects work to ensure that their moral and academic life shall always be a model for the student community to emulate. The successful applicants in assembly will be announced and presented with their prefect ties. Each prefect shall have a job description defining his/her areas of responsibility. Prefects who fail to adhere to the Prefect Code of Conduct and to maintain the role and responsibilities will be given a notice of intention to remove their prefect status.
Academic achievement and progress must always be good to outstanding.
Behaviour records must be exemplary, including absence or attendance.
Display team working skills and be organised and resourceful.
Be polite, honest, reliable, punctual and hardworking.
The Ambassadors area a team of students from all year groups, who are determined to achieve the aim: ‘To develop an awareness of the importance of having access to a clean, safe, happy and caring environment in which to work.’
The Mayflower Ambassadors are role models for the school and have each been selected for their excellence within the school. Their first main project was the organisation of a litter campaign, working together as a team to create a cleaner working environment for all students and staff. This campaign was extremely successful in reducing the amount of litter around the school site and developed a sense of social and moral consciousness among the school community. They have organised a number of inter-form tournament in all year groups. In addition, supporting numerous charity events.
The Mayflower Ambassadors benefit the school community with embedding the seven Olympic values in all aspects of school life. The Ambassadors are easily recognisable by their red Ambassadors badges.
Mayflower High School continues the long standing tradition of student voice. We seek opportunities for students to contribute and drive improvements to the school community. This commitment to student voice has spawned a new and exciting student leadership position in the school, entitled Community Captain.
The role of Community Captain originated from feedback from year 7 students regarding their experience of the transition process. The students wanted to hear more from current students about the worries they had and how they overcame them. This process of pupil modelling is crucial for prospective pupils and their families in guiding and creating a sense of confidence through the transitional phase.
The Captains are a group of Leaders who support the transition process inside and outside of school. The outreach work involves visiting the year 6 children in the local primary schools to present and share their experiences of secondary school, support on Induction Evening, Induction Day and to assist on their first day in September.
Peer Support Programme
Mayflower High School’s Peer Support Programme evolved from the ChildLine Schools Service. ChildLine, founded by Esther Rantzen in 1986, is a free 24 hour counselling service for children and young people up to their 19th birthday in the UK provided by the NSPCC.
Our school community has rapidly leant how to harness the resources of trained and supported students in building a community in which fairness and respect for students and staff, is at the forefront of our actions. Even for those students who might agree with the hackneyed notion that they are in the ‘best years of their lives’, life in school, with its examinations, friendship troubles, changes of rooms and staff, and increasing piles of work, is stressful for most. This is the overwhelming incentive for our Peer Support Programme where something is often practical and tangible – a place to talk and someone trained to talk to. Less tangibly, it’s about the atmosphere (climate) of the school, fostering an openness which enables everyone to succeed and contribute. Peer Support is also about mental health – fostering the abilities and resilience of all, and preventing people’s coping abilities from being devastated by stresses in their environment. A crucial element of this support is about sound knowledge and connections with a network of pastoral systems.
Our Peer Support Programme is based on a belief that as a school we can make a significant contribution to children in need. We offer a further opportunity to enable our pupils to become successful learners, confident individuals, responsible citizens and effective contributors through their involvement with our programme. Trained Peer Supporters work with children to develop the knowledge and understanding skills, capabilities and attributes which they need for mental, emotional, social and physical wellbeing now and in the future.
The current Peer Support Programme is organised by the Student Support Manager, Mrs Trevellyn, and consists of training sessions sensitively tailored to ensure topics are covered in a way that the supporters can understand and have been approved as suitable by NSPCC and child protection specialists. The materials have been developed to ensure age appropriateness and are delivered with respect and sensitively for all trainees. Some accompanying materials are also provided to reinforce learning, with these students having access to additional resources through the NSPCC website.
In the school with the scheme well embedded there is an accepted culture of pupils taking responsibility in a variety of ways, the trained pupils have a high profile and command the respect of staff and pupils. It is common for the Heads of Year to refer vulnerable pupils to the peer mentors for support; prefects on duty who identify problems may alert a peer mentor. The peer supporters with their distinctive badges served as an instant recognition purpose. In fact, pupils wear these badges with pride. One of the key features of the support for the peer mentors is the availability of the coordinator; on hand to support individual pupils.