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By hrbrsd | Wednesday, November 14, 2012, 12:16

A Somerset school has launched an elite leadership programme for prefects to coach them as future captains of industry.

The course, introduced at Taunton School, shows them how to guide younger pupils through the day-to-day life of school.

It includes learning about child protection issues, effective problem solving, delegation, time management, negotiation and mediation.

The programme also includes a challenging overnight training expedition, during which senior pupils face a range of tough leadership tasks.

Head of Sixth Form Michael Cook, who introduced the programme, says supporting younger pupils is a key aspect of the role.

"Communication skills are paramount and their training also involves acquiring a detailed knowledge of child protection issues.

"Prefects must have the ability to communicate effectively with a wide range of other people, including students, teachers and parents.

"We meet, weekly, to discuss issues in school and decide collectively how best to solve problems that arise.

"They must be able to hear and respond appropriately to problems experienced by younger pupils, as well as relaying the views of the student body to senior teachers, including the head teacher.

"They are a very strong team and their experience will be extremely valuable to them beyond school. They work very hard at the role and we work hard to support them."

Research shows 70 per cent of business leaders were school prefects – almost a third, heads or deputy heads of school, and half captaining their sports teams.

"It is my firm belief good leaders develop through a never ending process of self-study, education, training, and experience," added Michael Cook.

"These young people are the business leaders of tomorrow and we aim to harness that potential while they are here with us.

"They must learn to demonstrate leadership skills include making positive decisions and working effectively together as a team. These are not just figurehead positions.

"The aim is to keep their profile high in the school and to encourage the next generation to aspire to these roles. It is a formula that has proved highly successful at Taunton School over the years."

Taunton School has 18 school prefects, who contribute to the daily organisation of the school, including everything from managing the daily lunch queue to organising the Christmas ball.

"The training gave me a chance to learn the skills I use among the group I now work with closely on a daily basis," said prefect George Hallas, 17.

"The confidence we established in ourselves from the course has increased over time. I am ambitious to enter a career in law when I finish my studies and the skills I have gained here will serve me well, I am sure."

Next term Taunton School prefects are challenging themselves to raise £10,000 in RAG Week in support of the school charities, Go Commando and Bisee Books.



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