Student Leadership Conference 7th May 2015

Website report written by Mustapha Cheema a Year 10 Student
It has been a busy day for the newly formed Student Council of the Newman Catholic Collegiate as they talked to many important local leaders, including the Chairman of Stoke City FC, Peter Coates, Former Mayor of Kidsgrove, Kyle Robinson and even the Directors of the collegiate. We hope that it has been a really inspirational day as many of the children have acquired knowledge about what it takes to be a leader. The day was especially organized to teach the young people, about leadership and the different methods that certain leaders have used to get their message through to their followers and supporters.
This event took place on the 7th May, 2015, Election Day. Themes we were looking to promote were British Values, Democracy, Respect and Harmony, all important values across the Collegiate.
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The day was fun, educational and hopefully very much worthwhile as all the children who took part have learnt and shared so much about what they think it takes to be a good leader. The children and staff who participated are all members of their school councils and have a lot of experience in terms of leadership. This has allowed them to help and inspire many of the younger pupils and hopefully enabled them to pass on their fantastic qualities and leadership skills. We hope that this day gave them the opportunity to get to know one another, and hopefully come together as one Collegiate Council. During the day, the children of the Newman Collegiate discussed the qualities of a good leader, what they would like to promote and why. They also discussed about how to demonstrate leadership qualities.
Whilst doing an activity in the morning, as everyone was getting to know each other, we found that everyone had one thing in common: All of the school counsellors were talking about the successes that they had in their own different schools and what their aims were in the future and interestingly a word that was frequently used was the word ‘include’. They talked about how the inclusion of everyone was a big part of their manifesto (during the time of elections), and everybody that was present agreed that this was a really important idea to have. Coming together as one, we all learnt a great deal about what it means to be included and why it is important to consider everyone, for example the important things that happen every day such as who gets to decide ‘where we go on school trips’. This was noticed by a lot of the people present and was appreciated because it showed that all students had an understanding of what it took to achieve success. They understood that it takes a team to run such important events such as charity fundraising schemes, the school council and even the Student Leadership Day. However apart from talking about ‘WHAT we want’ the students also understood the importance of backing their ideas with reasons and so often asked each other ‘WHY?’, and it was agreed by many that this was an important question.
A senior pupil from St. Margaret Ward, named Hazel Fernando, was asked about what she thought of the meaningful day and this was her response ‘‘Today was an experience in which I've learnt that working with different aged pupils was beneficial for all of us no matter what the task was’’. One pupil from Our Lady St. Benedict commented on what he had enjoyed most about the day: ‘‘Doing the different activities, and seeing all the people with successful careers’’, and along with the pupils we also interviewed some of the members of staff present. When we asked a member of staff, named Mrs. Campbell, who is the leader from the C2C Teaching Alliance, about the day she replied, ‘‘The best is seeing children having a voice and joining in, in deciding how their school is run’’, and when asked if there was any reason for this she added, ‘‘Because I think that children have great ideas and they should be heard’’. ‘‘The best part was seeing young people from all the different schools coming together as one’’ said Mr. Sigley who was one members of staff, who organized a sporting activity that the children took part in during the afternoon. The activity was based on working together as a team and how to figure out different puzzles and communicating with one another.
The Vice Principal, Mrs Pritchard of St. Margaret Ward was also asked what her thoughts were about the day. She replied ‘‘I think it was really nice to have 9 schools, working together collaboratively, to determine the future of the Collegiate".
I personally feel that it has been a fantastic day as all of the school councils from the Academy have been together working as one and deciding what ideas are important for our schools and we thank everybody who took part. We hope that everyone has enjoyed themselves and learnt a lot about leadership’’, and to conclude on the thoughts that were shared a final senior member of St. Margaret Ward Catholic Academy, named Callum Roberts also from year 10 said, ‘‘It has been amazing, to be a part of this prestigious event and has most certainly taught us all about the life skills and responsibilities that are needed in the big wide world that awaits for us.’’ Indeed the final thought that was shared bears great meaning for those that are going on to find jobs, apprenticeships and even to those that are continuing their education as at St. Margaret Ward and the Newman Catholic Collegiate as a whole. We believe that to achieve success you must have a good education. We believe that education lies at the root of whatever it is that you want to do in life. This point was again mentioned during the day, when Peter Coates, the Chairman of Stoke City FC articulated, ‘…I did not have the best education but I got away with it, but nowadays education is not something that you can get away with, so value the opportunity and make the most of it’.
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