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The Big 13 – Leadership

Good leaders have the ability to motivate and influence, they get things done – by their own hard work and their ability to engage others.

Leadership is a quality that seems to include many of the other enterprise capabilities. Good leadership requires communication, a positive attitude, initiative, creativity and the ability and confidence to negotiate and influence.

In adult life good leadership can be the difference between failure and success, satisfaction and frustration and profit and loss. Providing leadership opportunities for pupils is essential – so they have a taste of what it is like to take responsibility, make decisions, manage peers and problems and deliver a final product or activity successfully.

Case Study – Anston Brook Christmas Play

After attending Rotherham Ready’s Inspire training event Tessa Clark decided to take an entirely new approach to the school’s Christmas Play – and let the children take the lead. Following a brain storming session with her class there was a whole raft of new ideas on how to take the play forward – including holding auditions for the first time, and creating roles for the children to undertake the work of set design, costumes and directing the production. Children had to ‘apply’ for these roles, giving reasons why they would be suitable. In the mean time auditions for the play were held by the school council, turning up talent from surprising quarters. Tessa said:

“The auditions felt unfamiliar at first, and a little uncomfortable, but the children were in charge and they felt strongly that this was a fairer way to do things. We were really reassured by their comments – the children were very perceptive and discerning, and they picked out the best performers. It was a bit of a revelation for all of us.”

Once the cast was chosen and scripts went out the children instituted lunch time and after school clubs to get the work done. Groups researched, planned and made the set and designed costumes. There were rehearsals too, and now children were also in the roles of ‘Director’, ‘Music Director’ and ‘Prompter.’  Tessa said:

“Once the project was underway it was less work for us, because we were in a more supervisory role than anything – the children really took ownership. They seemed to have this sense of ‘we are in charge, and it’s going to be good.”

In the meantime other children who weren’t part of the play were commissioned into marketing and promoting the play. Other classes brainstormed ideas for a marketing plan and distributed tasks between themselves. They decided to make posters, leaflets, produce novelty tickets and write letters home to parents. Refreshments were also put on, as well as a raffle. They also arranged that they would take video footage of the performances and sell the DVD to parents afterwards.

By the time the performances came round there was a genuine sense of anticipation at the school. During the performances the children were in charge – lead by the Director and Music Director, with the ‘Prompter’ sat reassuringly at the front – though everyone was word perfect. Tessa said:

“We just stood at the back; the children were in the driving seat the whole time. It was brilliant, and everyone was bowled over by the whole thing – the children’s attitude, the standard of the performances and the professionalism of the back stage crew. Every performance was packed out and there were many repeat visits. We all said afterward that we should have charged or maybe put on an evening performance – it was more like amateur dramatics than a school play.”