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posted 2 Aug 2017, 04:17 by Michele Colt
Assessments for these responsible, role model positions take place in the term preceding appointment. The candidates are asked to prepare a statement of capability for the role, give a speech to their peers and undergo a rigorous interview by senior leadership.  At the end of this year's selection process, the successful candidates  - who will begin their terms of office in
September, 2017 -  are Ellie Crump and Sydney Mason.   Here's what they had to say about their new roles.

Ellie began her school days at East Sheen Primary.   She is a student with ambition and, as she prepares to begin her Year 11 studies, already has her sights set on a career in either medicine or law.  But, as Ellie says, first things first. She is looking forward to her year as head girl and is keen, as part of that role, to make student links with local primaries. 'It is important', she says,' not only to impress potential students but also their parents about our school and what is happening here. How would I do that? Well, for example, I know local schools hold coffee mornings and I want to find out how I can visit some of those. It is important for students in their last year at primary school to be able to talk to us about transition, which can be a bit scary,  and find out how successfully it works here at Richmond Park Academy. I want to tell them that, by the end of my Year 7, I felt very comfortable at this new big school and was really enjoying what I was doing'.  

Ellie is also keen to set up a mentoring channel between her and younger RPA students and to play an active role in the Student Council. She also plans to take part in assemblies. 'The prefects, the head boy and I will work as a team. We will l try to help students to enjoy their time here, to have good memories of RPA and feel accomplished'.

This head girl designate is very proud of her school. She says the teaching is getting better and better, the facilities are really good and it is becoming very popular with local families. 'I have high expectations and I feel supported by my teachers. But I know the responsibility for filling in the gaps – if I unavoidably miss a lesson, for example – is mine. Sharing responsibility for my own progress is something I've learned here and  I know that will be useful not only in my role as head girl but as I prepare for future exams'.

One of the first big organisational tasks the new head girl and boy traditionally take on is the planning of the Year 11 prom.  'We will have to find a venue, arrange the food, the entertainment and the decorations. It's a huge job', Ellie says, ' but one which will give us good experience of problem-solving and working together as a team'.   

Come to think of it, problem-solving and team work is not a bad recipe for success. Looks as if Ellie might be on course with those ingredients in the mix...

Sydney is a local boy.  He moved here when he was two and a half, went to Barnes Primary, is a QPR fan, enjoys swimming and water sports – and includes maths in his list of hobbies. Sydney says 'I came to RPA with two friends from my class in primary school. The transition arrangements here helped me to feel comfortable very quickly -  not too overwhelmed – and to make new friends'. Sydney was impressed by the sports facilities at his new school – the football field and astro turf area – but he also loved the campus space, the buildings, the facilities generally but particularly the science labs. He confessed to being awestruck by the experimenting possibilities and 'the action bit of science'.

From Year 7, Sydney knew he wanted to be a school leader. Why? 'Because', he says, 'the school had been so brilliant when I first came here that I wanted to give back. How I might do that was continually in the back of my mind'. When the opportunity to take part in the head boy application process arose, Sydney lost no time in submitting the paperwork.  He told me: 'I had to write an essay about why I wanted to do this job, why I thought I could do it and what I wanted to achieve.' His essay, the rigorous interview and the presentation to senior leadership which followed must have done the trick because, from September, he'll take over officially as head boy.

The plans for the prom will be one of Sydney's first tasks – working in tandem with Ellie and the prefects' team – and, he feels, this will be an appetiser for some of the organisational things he will be involved in when he officially takes on the head boy role. 'But the prom', he says ' is not just about entertainment;  it is also a very good way for students to share and celebrate the successes that have been achieved here'.   

Sydney is not yet sure what he wants to do at 6th form – but there are some things about which he is absolutely certain. 'There are loads of good teachers here and I am constantly encouraged to make best better- because there is always something else you can do to improve.  I talk to friends at other schools – both state and private – and my feeling is that we could compete academically with any of them and hold our own'.  Sydney plans to read zoology and although he says, Bristol would be good, Oxford is on his wish list.

And finally, his message to those on the cusp of moving to secondary school is a very definite 'come to RPA'. He repeats: 'the facilities are fantastic, the teachers are very good and, during that potentially wobbly Year 7, they are very supportive'.  A special additional message for all those students who will be joining us in September:  both Ellie and Sydney will be there to give you a warm - and proud -  RPA welcome.