We can count among our former students the first female Dean in Church of England history, the British High Commissioner to the Seychelles, the Chief Executive of a FTSE 250 company, a prize-winning artist, award-winning photographer, Olympic medallist, celebrity agent, naval commander, doctors, lawyers, architects, civil servants, TV presenter, researchers, engineers, authors and academics... in fact pretty much everything.
At Queen's, we help girls to become leaders; and we do this by nurturing and empowering girls to get to the top.
Every week at least one of our former pupils lets us know of something fantastic she is doing with her leadership skills – whether that is campaigning for improved disabled access in her college, setting up a charity in Africa or managing large projects at work. Leading people is an enormously beneficial opportunity to have at school and our girls are thankful for the many opportunities given to them.
As soon as pupils arrive in Year 7 there are opportunities for them to take a lead role in sports teams, drama groups, bands, ensembles, performances, quiz teams, fundraising groups, House activities, committees and eventually on the Head Girl’s Team. As a small school, most girls will have several opportunities to lead throughout their life with us and learn what works, what they do well, where they can improve and their own individual leadership style.
Teenagers are not adults and we do not pretend to be the ‘real world’. We aim to prepare our students for the real world by giving them space away from societal pressures and expectations. This allows them time to find out who they really are.
Leadership and Enhanced Academic Programme
Our Leadership and Enhanced Academic Programme (LEAP) is for pupils in Years 9, 10 and 11, designed to offer learning opportunities and experiences in addition to the taught curriculum.
Pupils attend LEAP sessions on a Wednesday during lunchtime and cover a range of topics. They explore and complete massive open online courses (MOOCs), giving pupils the opportunity to experience a specific field of study which would not normally be available to them.
They are guided on research skills and academic writing to understand how to obtain valid research and writing methodologies.
Pupils on the LEAP course also explore leadership and learn about presentation skills, emotional intelligence, body language and leadership styles so that they can appreciate the nuances of leadership and identify what type of leaders they might become and what characteristics they may wish to develop in future.
We caught up with our Head of Teaching and Learning Dr Sheldrake to find out more about the programme.
Q. Why did you decide to launch the LEAP programme?
A. At Queen’s we offer a wide and varied curriculum alongside an extensive extra-curricular offering.
Several pupils in key stages 3 and 4 were asking questions about university applications, courses outside of Queen’s, different aspects of academia and leadership and whilst many of these areas are addressed in Sixth Form as part of our Q-Elevate programme, there was a clear appetite amongst younger pupils too and so we designed LEAP to provide these learning opportunities for pupils.
Q. What does the programme involve?
A. LEAP provides pupils with the opportunity to engage with aspects of learning they may not otherwise encounter or in some cases, only in the Sixth Form as part of our Q-Elevate programme. Pupils learn how to critically engage with research and develop opinions and arguments based on their research. They develop their understanding of research methods and how to ensure that research is valid, including identifying sources of bias.
Pupils on the LEAP programme will explore how they perceive themselves and others before learning about many aspects of leadership, such as emotional intelligence, leadership styles, body language, presentation skills and effective time management.
Q. Is the programme open to all students?
A. We welcome all pupils from Years 9 to 11 as pupils have told us that this is the age when many are becoming increasingly interested in the areas covered by LEAP.
Q. What does LEAP offer students in addition to the curriculum?
A. LEAP teaches pupils about leadership, for example, Steven Covey’s work on effective time management in seven habits for highly effective people, or Daniel Goleman’s work on emotional intelligence. Pupils reflect on their own characters and consider how they communicate messages to the outside world, including engaging people, body language and inspiring action.
Q. How do you see students benefitting from LEAP in the future?
A. Many of the pupils at Queen’s will go on to become future leaders and the LEAP course empowers these young minds with some of the strategies which they will need to draw upon in adult life. Embarking on learning these skills from a young age provides the opportunity to hone these skills and really develop them into adulthood.
Teaching pupils about understanding research and critically evaluating will provide the skills necessary to unpick false claims and ensure that in the future, pupils will be able to appreciate the different claims made in society and how to determine the truth in an increasingly noisy world.
The programme provides the perfect foundations for students to build on when they move into our new Q-Elevate programme in Sixth Form.