Prepared For Life
Perhaps our greatest satisfaction comes from hearing returning pupils say just how well prepared they were for life at their senior school.
We know that the lessons and skills learnt at the Bowdon Prep are invaluable to our pupils throughout their entire lives. In all we do, we offer our pupils the opportunities to develop skills for life, and growth of interpersonal skills and working habits that maximise their chances of success and happiness. We never forget that these years should be among the happiest of their lives, and we help to lay the moral and cultural foundations that will allow them to live life to the full.
From an early age we encourage pupils to develop a real inner confidence so that they do not fear failure. Our emphasis on educating the whole character ensures that girls are aware that they have personal strengths and a great deal to contribute to the community. All our Year 6 pupils take on a leadership responsibility – House Captain, School Council Secretary, Sports Captain, Peer Mentor, Choir Leader, Librarian, Newsletter Editor, School Photographer, member of the Charity Committee, Performing Arts Leader, Study Mentor, Environmental Officer, or Junior Safety Officer. This marks the final stage in a process of developing confidence that starts in Kindergarten, as girls realise that they all have a role to play in the world around them. Leadership skills are encouraged throughout the school, particularly in sports, music, drama and the house system.
The leadership posts are not prizes and we expect that all girls will respect the honour, privilege and responsibility of the position. They are areas in which we expect girls to strive to meet the expectations of being outstanding role models.
We encourage the girls to participate in these leadership initiatives, as they make a strong contribution to personal and social development in the many ways described below.
Gain confidence. Girls are empowered when they have abilities, and the work they do in leadership roles will be recognised.
Develop communication skills. Public speaking plays a major role in many careers today. As pupil leaders, they will need to speak with confidence and poise to diverse groups about their group's mission and goals. Diplomacy skills and persuasion tactics are also greatly enhanced.
Gain responsibility. Pupil leaders are not only responsible for themselves, they also have extended responsibilities that affect a wide range of people. Leaders of a group must make sure that tasks get done, and that all members of the group are performing to the best of their abilities. If someone does not follow through on a task, leaders must make sure that the task is completed. This responsibility can be a lesson on how to be accountable.
Develop negotiation skills. Most pupil groups work on collaborative projects that may have competing interests or clash with other aspects of school life. Pupil leaders must learn to establish priorities and compromise when necessary. Success occurs when the integrity of a project is maintained and everyone involved feels valued and empowered. This form of negotiation is invaluable for helping any group meet its goals, including professional teams in the workforce.
Ability to work with wider members of the school community. Pupil leaders may communicate with many people that they don’t typically interact with. Building relationships with these people can yield valuable personal and professional contacts.
Gain management skills. A strong leader is one whose management skills become second nature. Leaders must oversee operational tasks, make budgets, prioritise workloads, build consensus and perform other executive duties as necessary. Practising these skills in school can teach girls how to use their personal talents for the overall advantage of the group. They are very likely to make mistakes, but learning how to handle them now and deal with disappointment can better prepare them for the future.
Develop problem-solving skills. Pupil leaders have many obligations to meet while maintaining a full commitment to their studies and attending to other personal responsibilities. It will take some creative problem-solving skills to get everything done.
Transition to senior school. All the skills developed will help to make the transition to senior school much smoother and help the girls face the challenges and demands of the future with much greater confidence and self-reliance. The skills will also add an enriching dimension to girls' school references, and will no doubt attract attention.
Girls organise events to raise both awareness and money. Most of their chosen charities are for children, and therefore of particular relevance to our pupils.
Each year a Charity Committee is established, consisting of girls in Year 6. The committee has the responsibility for researching and choosing each year’s charity programme. Each half-term, a charitable organisation is chosen and the girls organise events to raise both awareness and money. The Charity Committee aims to choose a diverse range of charities based locally and nationally, both in the UK and abroad.
Last year our girls raised substantial sums through activities that included bake sales, and numerous sponsored reading, maths and spelling events. Bowdon Prep’s commitment to fundraising and raising awareness of those less fortunate is closely linked to our personal, social and health education (PSHE) curriculum. We believe it is an intrinsic part of each child’s educational development, and enables them to play a more developed role within the wider community.
Some of the charities supported by the pupils, staff and parents of Bowdon Prep in the last year include: the NSPCC, Children in Need, Children’s Adventure Farm Trust, Mission Christmas and the Poppy Appeal.