Student Leadership Accreditation
In September 2013 we launched the Student Leadership Accreditation which is an initiative that is supported by SSAT. It is an unfortunate fact that despite girls out performing boys at every academic level, women hold less than 5% of the leadership roles of notable companies. Of Margaret Alphonsa Ellis it was said that she “shrunk from no new departure, no bold experiment that the times have seemed to call for.” The times are certainly calling for this situation to be addressed. The Student Leadership Accreditation encourages our girls to develop the skills needed for leadership and as with other skills, leadership needs to be practised. Alongside their academic results, it allows the girls to demonstrate that throughout their journey at Loreto they have progressed holistically. I cannot think of anything more powerful than young women living out the values of Mary Ward in positions of influence in which ever field they choose.
After an introductory presentation, the girls began by discussing with their forms the qualities they believed were important in leadership. Older students extended this by discussing the barriers excluding women from leadership roles. The girls are able to take complete ownership of the SLA by choosing whether to begin at bronze, silver or gold. They then decide for themselves what evidence they could gather to demonstrate that they have completed each of the ten leadership strands. This decision making develops aspects of independence and resilience. Once the ten strands are evidenced and the supporting statements completed, the girls then peer moderate the portfolios. This is truly leadership for the girls by the girls.
Loreto Grammar school is one of the first schools in the county to implement this programme of student leadership and I have worked extensively with SSAT. We are recognised by SSAT as implementing ‘excellent practice’ and have been asked to support other schools interested in embarking upon the SLA.
The girls are given time to build their portfolio within the Form Time programme and they will continue to develop their leadership skills throughout their time at Loreto.
To date (September 2015) we have over 100 girls that have been accredited, with 5 achieving the ‘gold’ standard. These 5 girls have agreed to take on additional responsibility by developing the role of SLA Ambassador. This role will allow them to extend their own leadership skills whilst supporting other students.
To allow you to have a fuller understanding of the SLA, I have included a number of relevant SSAT documents.