From the Chairman

An open letter to a student in Kent:

I am pleased to read of your Student Leadership Group. You cannot imagine right now how much this experience will benefit you and your fellow group members in the wider world, later in life.

You ask quite rightly "How will our school benefit from joining your 'School Councils Membership Network' ".

My answer is this:

It is always an option in life to sit on your hands and do nothing. But leaders are not like this. Leaders know that if everyone sits on their hands and does nothing, then nothing happens! So someone – a leader – has to go out and make things happen. Leaders spot the person who is struggling and stop to give them a hand because they know instinctively that it is the right thing to do. On a bigger scale, leaders help to organise people who perhaps can't immediately see how things should be organised. And then they organise it. Then everyone benefits. On an even bigger scale, a leader might stand in an Caribbean airport unable to get home on scheduled services because of an airline breakdown, charter an aircraft and fly the other stranded passengers and him- or her- self home. This last example tells the story of Sir Richard Branson and was the origins of Virgin Atlantic. A leader is a person who sees wrong and determines to fix it, come what may. A leader is a person who can stand in the middle of a field and see a town.

Now the thing is that the world needs leaders. Leaders often become leaders by being elected by their peers, just as you were elected. Society organises itself through elections, through democracy – if we as a nation decide that we should have a new way to run hospitals or roads, we can only do that through our political leaders, our elected representatives. In school you are doing exactly the same thing, albeit on a smaller scale.

So School Councils are a training ground for future leaders. School Councillors understand that they need to listen with respect to all the arguments and decide collaboratively what's best to do.

Now clearly yours is a very good school. Suppose for a minute that there were other schools as good as yours. It's likely that they will have had problems to overcome that you may not have come across. Or maybe they hit the same problem and solved it a different way. Networking is the process of talking to other school communities to see what problems they have encountered and how they overcame them. Otherwise, as any leader will see, no-one will learn from other people's experience and we will all constantly be re-inventing the wheel.

So I will argue that your school (and all schools) will benefit from networking with other schools at a leadership level, at School Council level. Who will argue against me?

In leading, carry with you those who are not as fortunate as yourself. They need your help. And if you help them, maybe they will help someone else in turn who is less fortunate still. That's how we can make a difference – every day.

Finally, it is true that if you show leadership, other people will see that you have the power to lead and will follow your example. Wow, what a privilege! Imagine that!

The world needs leaders like you.

Very best wishes
Stephen Page
Chairman