One of the School’s strengths is its broad-based liberal arts education which instils deep knowledge across a range of disciplines, whilst encouraging the development of skills and dispositions which transfer beyond School. Every student at the School has access to such an education, as well as the associated opportunities which exist as part of, and outside of, the formal curriculum.
The leadership programme is designed to sit within and alongside this curriculum, hence the School’s aim to “foster excellence through learning and leadership”. Given our explicit focus on leadership development, one of our commitments is to keep up to date with contemporary thinking, understanding and practice. An emerging trend is a shift in focus away from the “leader” as a figure sitting above and commanding others in an authoritative manner.
Notions of power and influence are gradually shifting between leaders and followers. In this way, leadership becomes a dynamic relationship whereby the position of leader and follower changes depending on the specific context. The importance of followers in this relationship is also why the School places an emphasis on civics and service learning through our Values in Action programmes. Despite these changes, there should continue to be a place for students to learn about leadership from a position of responsibility.
In the past, much of the spotlight at Melbourne Grammar School has been on the School Prefects. However, the heightened attention on this group often casts a shadow over other students, many of whom have similar aspirations and interests in leadership development.
In recent years, the School Executive has explored how to open up more opportunities to a greater number of students. This was not about creating more positions, but a clearer sense of how students could meaningfully contribute. The result is a new student leadership model which was implemented at the start of 2014. Rather than a group of Prefects, the School now acknowledges a smaller Student Leadership Council comprising the School Captain, Vice Captains and House Captains.
Instead of a small group of autonomous portfolio Prefects, a number of student committees are responsible for various initiatives which contribute to the life of the School. Examples include Reconciliation, Sustainable Living and Innovation and Science and Technology Committees. These committees encourage open membership, but are led by senior students who are mentored by a staff member.
An Ethical Heart
The development of ethical character is a lifelong process, informed by reflective insight and sound moral judgement. A conviction to act with integrity and moral courage is fundamental to the capacity to contribute meaningfully to the community in which we live, and we work hard to help our students develop an ethical foundation and an awareness of the values they hold.
An Engaged Mind
Knowledge is acquired through participation in a range of experiences and our willingness to learn from these situations. Wisdom develops when knowledge is integrated to enable a deeper understanding of the complexities of the world in which we live, leading to purposeful engagement and a responsibility to actively apply what we learn in thoughtful, rational and creative ways.
The relationships we seek to develop are central to fulfilling our capacity to learn, act and serve. Meaningful relationships require a belief in and demonstration of genuine respect for all people in the community. Through our interactions with others we can share thoughts, beliefs, abilities and ideas in ways which enhance our experiences and contribute in significant ways to those of others.