On Friday 15 March, we hosted our first ever Leadership Conference for one hundred and ten Year 8 pupils from seven local schools. Entitled ‘Tomorrow’s Leaders’, the conference featured a number of key addresses and activities that aimed to improve the Leadership skills among the children attending.
Children from The Oratory Prep, Moulsford Prep, Abingdon School, Langtree School, St Andrew’s School, The Oratory School and St John’s Beaumont School were all captivated by the keynote addresses, which were delivered by Ian Hepburn, Transformation Director at Mars Wrigley and Sam Underhay, Director of Communications at PepsiCo. They spoke about the importance of being responsible and thoughtful leaders, and drew on examples from experiences within their respective businesses.
The pupils engaged in fun and challenging group leadership tasks that aimed to develop their confidence, creativity and assertiveness. From Public Speaking tasks to team challenges, each activity was designed to encourage children to communicate effectively and develop creative solutions to problems. Ian Hepburn said, ‘It’s so important for children to learn these skills, and especially in Year 8, as they are beginning to think seriously about their futures’.
The day culminated in a final challenge, where teams of children had just two hours to design, build, test and present a two minute pitch to a panel of judges. The challenge was to provide a way for pupils in a Kenyan school to wash their hands: they needed to provide educational information, instructions, and ensure that there would be minimal waste of water and soap. The pupils put immense thought into their designs, with every member of each team playing a crucial role.
Mr Chris Sexon, organiser of the Leadership Conference, and Assistant Head - School Leadership at The Oratory Prep said, ‘We felt that it was essential to provide an occasion where young men and women, tomorrow’s leaders, could come together to develop their confidence, teamwork and core leadership skills, and to learn from top business figures.’
The success of this conference has paved the way for the event to be held again in the future. This is an idea which is wholly supported by Mr Rob Stewart, our Headmaster, who said, ‘this conference, which allowed boys and girls to learn from each other and develop key life skills, enables children to blossom into great men and women of the future. It gives them the best possible preparation for life beyond education.’