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Leadership 2019

The St Benedict’s Preparatory Leadership Philosophy

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Prep Leadership Guidelines 2019.pdf

The St Benedict’s Preparatory Leadership Philosophy:

. We don’t make leaders by telling them they are leaders. We want a system that is developmental so that we give boys guidance and opportunity to learn, and     when they fail, we help them try again. When they succeed, we positively reinforce and create new challenges and opportunities. 

. Using brain science, one has to consider the various characteristics of students' maturing brains: The prefrontal cortex is not fully developed in most 10- to 15-   year-olds. As a result, the navigating tools for academics and life are not completely "online" yet. These include decision making, impulse control, moral and   abstract reasoning, planning, understanding consequences of words and actions, and other executive functions. At this age, the Habit of Mind Managing One’s   Impulsivity is not well developed and boys are regularly making wrong choices. For many boys, they are not there yet (Carol Dweck) and to put them in stressful   leadership positions without adequate skills is inappropriate.

. We believe in Servant Leadership – boys learn through giving of their time and skills to help those around them. 

. We want a leadership programme that is inclusive and develops role models, contextual and community harmony and a general spirit of working for others.

. We intend to provide structure, scaffolding, opportunity and guidance for leadership as well as motivational objectives and reinforcement of positive habits and   attitudes. “Self Actualisation” is a whole school philosophy.

. We want boys to be a Light in the World  through their interactions with and for others; to learn humility as well as make a determined contribution to self,     family, school and community development. 

. Boys are at school to learn through play, relationships, challenges and collaboration – leadership will come through these – he is not here to “work”.

Rationale for Change:

. Immature brains: As Carol Dweck would say, many are just not there yet. Having unrealistic expectations of boys can be demotivating and stressful.

. The Habit of Mind Managing One’s Impulsivity is not well developed yet  and cannot expect them to be as rational and sensible as adults

. Boys, leader parents and staff have been engaged in the change thought process

. We are aiming for the development of self-actualisation skills across the Prep school journey rather than a leap into a rigid leadership programme in Grade 7. Boys will be able to enter the programme when they are ready and participate at a level with which they feel comfortable.

. Present structures bring stress and detraction from the learning fun of Grade 7

. Leaders feel disaffection from their peer group

. There is Grade resentment from non-leaders  and an “us and them” mentality

. Some non-leaders often feel rejected and react against leaders as well as develop a poor attitude, low self esteem, poor school spirit and behavioural problems. 

. Empathy is a school-wide issue that has been poorly role modelled by Grade 7 in the present system. Senior boy engagement with juniors has been limited rather than encouraged

. Present opportunities for servant leadership are limited and lack structure

. Many more boys can receive positive recognition for their involvement and they can join the programme when they are ready.

. The new system emphasizes empathy, belonging, consideration, teamwork, shared responsibility, taking initiative, school spirit, service and allows for boys to explore leadership at a pace they can manage. 

. We anticipate better engagement, improved focus and better performance at school in general

Revised Whole Prep School Programme: For roll out in January 2017 

1. A House system - senior boys interact with juniors in a  “big-brother” framework. 
2. An “in-school” leadership programme which is structured through different “Levels”  that boys can take part in , from Grade 5 – 7.
3. A “creative” structured “beyond-school” leadership programme for boys to take on to show servant leadership in their own way and time.
4. A Grade 6 leadership/self-discovery camp and programme to help boys learn leadership attitudes and skills. Grade 6 remains the “service” year where boys learn how to lead through helping others and taking on roles on offer around the school
5. A Grade 7 multi-faceted approach so all boys can contribute in various ways:
They will act as big brothers (all)
They will have House duties (all)
Service Award System: Blue, Red, Gold Badges + Headmaster’s Leadership (choice)
Student council (elected to speak FOR the students for term 1 – can be re-elected)
Grade 7 committee involvement (choice and leadership options)
Jhb mini councillors (elected)
A large variety of portfolio leadership positions available (on self-actualisation)


6. Boys can receive recognition and earn their badges for their leadership efforts after they have completed their service and self-development objectives. This will involve goal-setting and working to fulfil self-set and negotiated objectives.

By Grade:
Grade 4: Boys are welcomed into the House family and will be part of an 8-boy group (2 gr4, 2 gr5, 2 gr6 and 2 gr7) with senior boys engaging with juniors as part of a big brother pastoral care framework. All staff will have House families with which to engage.

Grade 5: As for Grade 4 but boys can elect to set goals and participate in the Red Badge leadership programme. Goal setting takes place in week 1 of the school year during orientation. Boys may renegotiate their goals with their teacher during the course of the year. 

Grade 6: As for Grade 4/5 but the focus of Grade 6 remains SERVICE as in years past. Boys can choose to join the Red Badge programme or, if completed, the Blue Badge level. There are several ways for Grade 6 boys to be of service. Grade 6 boys also attend the leadership/self-development camp. Near the end of Grade 6, boys motivate for temporary leadership on the Student Council from amongst their peer group. Boys who have demonstrated leadership through a commitment to Service in Grade 6 are likely to be chosen as role model leaders in Grade 7.

Grade7: As for grade 4-6. At the beginning of the year, boys put their names forward for leadership positions. Boys motivate for peers. Identified boys who have been of service in Grade 6, completed red/blue badges or demonstrated leadership skills in their daily school lives may be given term 1 leadership roles. Activity captains, including sport and culture, may be identified pre-season. Activity captains are NOT the best players, but those who work for the team and demonstrate team leadership. At the beginning of Grade 7 boys may sign up for the gold Headmaster’s leadership badge (see completion template). All boys are expected to take on House duties and House big brother roles. All boys must sign up to be part of a service committee. All formal leadership roles are considered for a term only but boys may be re-elected. The sharing of duties is strongly advocated with boys. All boys can receive formal leadership recognition at some time in the year when they have demonstrated responsible application in their committee, activity or programme.
We know boys will meet the leadership expectations to various degrees. The programme is never punitive but aimed at being encouraging until a boy is ready for more responsibility. 

What this means for Grade 7 2017 onwards:
Leadership expectations for all: some mandated, some elected, some on self-actualisation

Committees                    Student Council                                             Leadership positions
- Academics                          - Academics                                     Heads and deputies of committees
- Culture                                 - Culture                                          Heads and deputies of Student Council
- Sport                                    - Sport                                             Heads and deputies of Houses
- Liturgy                                  - Liturgy                                          Heads & deputies of House spirit
- Enviro                                - School Spirit                                   Heads and deputies – school spirit
- NBA                                  - Heads of House                                         JHB mini council
- Outreach                                                                                       Activity captains & deputies
- Hospitality
- Music
- A/V technology
- Library

Parent support:

  • Boys will need parental guidance and structure to set goals and take the opportunities as they are ready for them. Class and portfolio teachers will work with boys to help them begin, persevere and reach their goals. Teachers will not engage with parents around leadership. A boy who isn’t ready to speak up or take responsibility for himself is not ready for a leadership role. Getting him to initiate action is the first step of self-actualisation. However well-intentioned, parent over-involvement is a detractor from independence and self-confidence.

    We believe that every St Benedict’s boy can lead his peer group and the junior boys in some way. We are hopeful that this revised programme will allow for every boy to grow and his contribution to be meaningful for him and others. We also hope it will bring the St Benedict’s boys together in a stronger spirit that is less about titles and more about contribution. 
    Boys have been briefed on 25 November 2016 and again in week 1 2017, upon which the programme will begin and boys can commit themselves where they are comfortable.

    Goal setting is a great way to get organized and start a plan of action - for week 1 of 2017 during orientation.
    Boys aiming to complete any one of the leadership programmes MUST complete a page of goal setting, ideally after discussion with parents then in consultation with the class teacher.

    Goal Setting: (See a basic template attached)
    1. If you are trying out for a leadership badge, set goals according to the criteria.
    2. Set academic goals: What will you strive for this year?
    3. Set Outreach and Service goals: Commit to assisting with outreach and indicate how much involvement you will try for this year. Think about how you     can contribute to be of service, either around the school as opportunities arise or within your community.
    4. What cultural activity will you commit to this year?
    5. What minimum of three sports will you commit to this year?
    5. How will you earn green entries and avoid red entries?
    7. Commit these to writing – one to your teacher and one in your diary - and reflect on your own progress every now and then. Your teachers will help          you if you ask. They will also help you reflect on progress near the end of the year. A teacher may offer you balance tasks to make up where you may      have fallen short of your goals. Remember, it is your responsibility to progress, not your teacher’s or your parents’.
    8. If you make it, you will be awarded your badge and may wear it throughout your Prep career. If you don’t, try again. Perseverance is an essential           leadership skill.

  • Leadership Structure

  • Below:

    Templates of leadership programme record
    Gr 5-7 Ora Et Labora Award
    (sections are to be discussed with class teacher once boys commit themselves to attempting the programme. A portfolio of evidence is to be kept for discussion and to record completion).

    Goal setting template

    Ora et labora (Pray and Work)

    Name: _____________________________       My SMART goals for 2017

     Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Timely = SMART


    Specific. What do I want to achieve?








    Complete when?

    Academic goals
























    Outreach / service








    Code of conduct








    Other school-related goals








    Personal goals







    Signature _______________________                                  Teacher _______________________________                                    Parent ________________________________



    Ora et labora (Pray and Work) Red Award

    Name: ____________________ Year ________
    Record sheet

    Leadership Task


    Parent sign

    Teacher sign

    Goal setting complete




    Academic diligence

    and work ethic




    Outreach Contribution

    Task 1

    Task 2

    Task 3



    Community service



    2 hrs









    Cultural participation x1




    Term 1


    Term 2

    Term 3









    Less than 5 Red entries


    More than 15 Green entries




    School service







    Goal setting objectives reviewed.




    Balance tasks completed







    Red Award

    Congratulations! Wear your badge with pride!




    Ora et labora (Pray and Work) Headmaster’s Award

    Name:                                         Year        

  • Leadership Task


    Parent sign

    Teacher sign

    Goal setting complete




    Positive Academic progress & ethic




    Outreach Contribution

    Task 1

    Task 2

    Task 3



    Community service

    Of own choosing

    (15 hours min)




    Organisational Challenge




    New skill




    Physical challenge




    Cultural participation




    Term 1


    Term 2

    Term 3






    Less than 5 Red entries


    More than 15 Green entries




    School service/

    Loyalty points







    Committee/Gr 7 leadership role parameters met




    Goal setting objectives reviewed.



    House Family endorsement:





    Balance tasks completed






    Heads Award





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