Fostering leadership skills is a central principle during life at St Helen’s. We provide a wide range of opportunities for our students to develop the courage and conviction to become leaders, both in school and beyond. When they leave us, they will be confident in their ability to engage with, and relish, the challenges of the 21st century which they will shape and lead.
Leadership displays itself in many ways. From the very beginning, students can gain invaluable experience via taking up roles as form leaders or School Council reps, while further up the School they can captain a sports team, lead an orchestra, act as a Tycoon Enterprise MD, direct a drama production, devise a debate, organise a charity dinner, act as a country rep at a MUN Conference or lead an assembly – the sky is the limit.
The Head Girls and Prefect Team are elected by students and staff ballot in Lower Sixth and go on to lead the student body for a year. The Prefect Team is often our public face at events, including Open Day, assessment days and induction days. The team of 28, dressed in their uniforms and boaters, has a very aspirational, yet reassuring presence, and in prefect interviews, students often talk about their memory of seeing the Prefects for the first time at one of these events.
St Helen’s has given me the opportunity as Head Girl to represent and lead students in issues important to myself and others, bringing benefits and improvements to our school and the wider community.
Olivia, Head Girl 2021-22
Being a prefect has been a very interesting experience and it has been great to give back to the school community. I have learnt many life skills such as teamwork and the ability to adapt to evolving situations.
Alice, Admissions prefect 2022-23
In my roles as a Prefect and charity rep, I’ve been able put into practice leadership skills that I’ve derived from my friends and teachers throughout the School. In particular, I’ve learnt to appreciate the importance of different leadership styles and effective communication.
Marina, charity representative
There are many varied and important roles that prefects can take on, each with specific responsibilities around the School. Our Sustainability Prefect works with our Eco Committee to drive new environmental initiatives and projects, while our Charity Prefect works with reps to organise events and activities that raise funds for the annually chosen school charity.
House Prefects work with their staff Head of House to lead and coordinate their House. Their role involves arranging teams, organising meetings and encouraging House spirit (and ensuring a competitive edge!). The School Council Prefect leads the work of School Council which is a space for students from across all year groups to have their say in how the School is run.
Other responsibilities include:
- Sports Captain
- Section Prefects (Junior Department, Lower School and Middle School)
- Communications and Marketing Prefects
- Equality and Diversity Prefect
- Digital Prefect
- Academic Prefect
In addition to prefectship, we offer students in Sixth Form a range of other leadership opportunities. Throughout Lower Sixth, all students commit to either community service or school service. They might dedicate their time to help at local primary schools and the retirement home nearby, or volunteer with extracurricular clubs and activities. They can also undertake training to become Peer Support Leads through our OX14 Learning Partnership. All these have an enormously positive impact on the rest of the School.