Making a difference through leadership

This time of year we make our selections for the Girls’ Leadership Group. The process is as important as the outcomes and we hope that all the many talented girls who apply learn something about themselves whether they are successful or not. At BGS we are preparing the girls for the workforce they will be entering and this process models some of the experiences they may have when applying for a job.

First, the girls have to write an application form. It is designed to be short so that they can write concise explanations outlining how their skills set makes them suitable for the role. They draw on their experiences of leadership in the School, and in doing so sometimes become more aware of their need perhaps to utilise more of the school co-curricular opportunities as these would hone their skills. The list of applications is then presented to the staff and girls in the Lower Sixth to express a vote of interest in the applicant. The girls, in order to lead, have to have followers but leadership is not about popularity and so this vote is only one of the many selection criteria.

From the applications and the votes of interest a short list is formed and the girls are invited to an interview, a networking luncheon and for Head Girls only, to make a speech. Every year I am dazzled by the quality of responses particularly to the question of how the girls will make a difference to the community. They have a mature understanding of who they are and what they bring to the role. Their answers epitomise the School’s values particularly through the campaigns they want to embrace and this year was no exception: a desire to set up a Sixth Form programme where Sixth Formers are allocated to forms to act as mentors to the lower years; a wish to work with the Bedford community to celebrate the women’s suffragette movement in and around Bedford; a plan to set up a school cricket club; and to embrace, more fully, the Dove campaign of Girls Can and to nominate weekly, pupil of the week for the good work they are doing in the School.

The speeches the girls gave, made me proud. They spoke passionately and honestly about the experiences the school had given them and what they wanted to give back to the community. Each girl had a different story to tell but each story highlighted the importance a caring community played in their lives and the importance of being proud of who they are. As one girl eloquently said “no one ever made a difference by being someone else” – I could not agree more – these girls, regardless of whether they make the final GLG or not, all had the self -belief that they can go on and make a difference and the BGS community is richer because of it!

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