Stonar School hosted the annual Globeducate Student Leadership Summit for three days in October, bringing two senior students from 23 schools together for a three-day, online symposium. Students from Canada, Europe and India joined the event – the first time it was held virtually rather than at Stonar in England – to develop their leadership skills, both in theory and practice.

Guest speaker Dr Lucy Walker from Britten Pears Arts joined Stonar School Staff to deliver inspiring talks, workshops, questionnaire evaluations and feedback. Dr Walker curates exhibitions and writes about the life and works of musicians Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears, and has presented study days at concert venues and opera houses in the UK and internationally. She spoke about how leadership comes in many forms and styles.

Headmaster of Stonar, Matt Way, opened the event with a session on leadership theory – drawing on his own military career experiences and on leaders as diverse as Tito and Shackleton. Students were challenged to think about the characteristics of a good leader and the session was followed by an analysis of Belbin´s leadership styles. The students had all previously completed a questionnaire which was then used to identify where their dominant leadership styles lay. Zoom break-out rooms allowed smaller groups of students to discuss what they had learnt about themselves, and each other, and how to build an effective leadership team.

David Wicks, a former Colonel in the British Army and current Head of Science at Stonar, spoke about leadership in action and importantly defined the difference between leadership and management. David also stressed the importance of honesty and integrity as the basis for any successful leader. More break-out sessions had a focus on planning presentations on an inspirational leader of their choice – the students did not disappoint in their choice of leaders with a wide range being chosen, from Michelle Obama and Jesus to Stalin and Colonel Gaddafi!

The second day began with a workshop on public speaking led by Jamie Dyde, Head of English at Stonar; many of the students having already noted that communication was a key skill for any potential leader. Following more group work, Dr Lucy Walker listened to the fantastic presentations. All students participated in the presentations and the confidence with which they spoke, the engagement they had for the subject matter, informing their research with the leadership theory they had learnt the previous day, ensured that the presentations were lively, informative and delivered with style. As well as providing constructive feedback, Dr Walker praised the students and left the event questioning what her own leadership style may be. Prior to Dr Walker’s keynote speech, students participated in a fun scenario planning event, where they had to use their leadership skills to plan for survival, or escape, on a deserted island.

Head of Sixth Form, Charlotte Bennett, who has organised this event for many years said, “It was a pleasure to host an event for such a talented and personable group of young people. They were, without doubt, leaders of the future. The original seed of an idea for this event came from a past Head Pupil at Stonar when she was studying languages at A Level; she saw a potential opportunity to work with other student leaders from the group. It is this creative thinking, the desire to work towards joint goals and the development of individual confidence, alongside fostering positive relationships with our Globeducate family, that the Head Pupil Event strives to achieve. We have many immensely talented young leaders within our schools and this opportunity for them to work together and learn from each other can be a hugely rewarding experience.”

Oanh Crouch, Education Director for Globeducate, said: “My thanks to the Stonar team for organising such an incredible leadership summit for the students. Within a changing world, never has it been more obvious that we need to expand upon the traditional concept of leadership and to embrace the notion that leadership is multi-faceted and manifests in many styles and in a variety of ways.  I have no doubt our leaders of the future have come away from this experience with much to add to their repertoire of skills.”

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