Joff Powis, Headmaster, tells us how Vinehall’s Year 7s and 8s learn leadership skills

In today’s rapidly changing world, leadership has become a pivotal trait. Prep schools are instrumental in shaping young minds, fostering an environment that nurtures and develops essential leadership skills.

Here at Vinehall, we want our Seniors to be serious in their endeavours, striving for success in all they do, while also learning not to take themselves too seriously. Our hope is that they will find joy in learning as confident, self-motivated learners, as well as finding delight and comfort in the relationships they enjoy with their friends and teachers. We recognise that leadership skills are developed by giving children the chance to lead, and over the course of their final two years at Vinehall, children have many opportunities to take on positions of responsibility as Prefects, House Captains and Committee Leaders. Pupil voice is celebrated and promoted through a series of Committees and the School Council, with our Year 8s leading and chairing these forums. I am a huge advocate of the 13+ Prep School model and feel it necessary, more than ever, to sing from the roof tops of the incredible opportunities open to a senior prep school child. They are in a very privileged position, benefitting enormously from being at the top of a teaching and learning pyramid as opposed to being the youngest members of a senior school community. This encourages maturity and independence. Our approach to cultivating leadership is by empowering our children with various responsibilities. Our pupil leaders are actively encouraged to help and accompany visitors on a school tour or are seen making conversation with them over lunch, where this is the natural and expected behaviour for the senior pupils in a prep school. Through personal guidance and feedback, our children gain confidence in decision-making and problem solving, integral aspects of effective leadership.

At Vinehall we create an environment where leadership is not just a concept, but is a lived experience. Through a combination of practical experiences, mentoring and communication, we aim to equip our children with the skills and mindset needed to become the leaders of tomorrow. This innate responsibility and maturity is without doubt what the senior schools shout about when our Prep pupils move on to them.

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