The top of the student voice chain is the Senior Student Leadership Team (SSLT). This group of 20 students is made up of 2 representatives from each year group. The Year 7 students also sit on the Primary school’s student council and 2 Year 6 students sit on the SSLT. This builds positive links between Primary and the “big school”. The SSLT act as the managers of the action plan created by students to address issues they have raised within the school and are expected to be the face of our student body at key events throughout the year: meeting potential new staff at recruitment evenings, speaking to parents and carers at Parent Evenings, hosting the Academy Award Evening and updating school governors regarding their activities.
The keystone of learner leadership at Bradford Academy is the Form Group Representative. Each form group in Key Stage 3, 4 and 5 elect a learner to represent their form group. This process takes place annually in early September. Interested learners put forward their names as candidates, then produce and deliver presentations to their forms in “election week” across the school. Learners then vote in a secret ballot for their chosen Representative. This provides the school with upwards of 50-60 Form Reps elected by their peers. We respect the choices of the learners; Form Reps are not just figure heads they have a job description which we hold them accountable for. These new leaders have meaningful tasks to do within their form and year group. They support their tutors and Heads of Year in their day to day jobs such as leading discussion in form time or managing the entry and exit of learners in year assemblies. They also provide a pool of learner leadership talent to draw on for any event or situation where learner input would be appropriate and valued.
“You can make a positive impact, and help people in many ways.”
Corey McKenny – Form Rep
For example we train some to sit on recruitment panels, act as tour guides during open days and ambassadors to greet visitors.
The next level of learner leadership are the Year Leaders. These roles are fewer in number; the Head of Year deciding on a number which suits their needs (robust but flexible) and are recruited rather than elected. Learners are invited to write a letter of application for their position against a clear job description. They must also stand up in front of their entire year group and explain why they feel they have the qualities required. Ultimately the Head of Year chooses the strongest candidates but this reflects the level of responsibility we place on this position and reflects real world experience. Often Heads of Year will use unsuccessful applicants to lead on other learner leadership activity such as running the Year Team charity committee. We try hard not to waste any talent or turn away any enthusiastic learner.
“I feel I am part of something bigger than me.”
Ellis Cullearn – Year 7 Leader
The top of the learner leadership chain is the Senior Student Leadership Team (SSLT). This group of 20 learners is made up of 2 representatives from each year group. The Year 7 learners also sit on the Primary school’s student council and 2 Year 6 learners sit on the SSLT. This builds positive links between Primary and the “big school”. The SSLT act as the managers of the action plan created by learners to address issues they have raised within the school and are expected to be the face of our learner body at key events throughout the year: meeting potential new staff at recruitment evenings, speaking to parents and carers at Parent Evenings, hosting the Academy Award Evening and updating school governors regarding their activities.
“Being a learner leader, I have learnt and enhanced many skills that I can carry into both higher education and the world of work. It really boosted my UCAS application as universities are always looking for learners’ with extra-curricular commitments. This made my application stand out from others.”
Hanniah Rehman Chair of SSLT 2018-19
In between the SSLT and the Year Leaders is a whole raft of other learner leadership groups known as “bubble groups”. These groups demonstrate the vibrancy of learner leadership at Bradford Academy and how it is part of our culture. The groups can bubble up at any time for any length of time. Current groups include Sporting Elite, Librarians, Prom Committee, anti-bullying mentors, reading mentors, digital leaders, and the Diana Award to name a few. Many of the bubble groups are set up by the pastoral team or the learners themselves and often reflect the changing priorities of the school or community.
“When I became a learner leader I felt like I had a Voice and I thought I could benefit the school and the learners greatly with responsibility and I know I can get many things out of it such as leadership skills.”
Daniel Adekulne – Year 7