Forge Valley School, in Stannington, appointed their prefects at an inauguration ceremony on July 12, following a vote in which pupils chose the young people they wanted to act as representative for the student voice in the next academic year.
The ceremony was attended by the Rt Hon Lord David Blunkett, along with his guide dog Barley, as well as Jayne Crawshaw, the Chair of Governors, parents, carers and other members of school staff.
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Addressing the crowd, Lord Blunkett spoke of his own experiences as a politician, revealing details of his first entry into politics at a young age when he led a delegation, comprised of his fellow classmates, to the head teacher calling for a change to school meals.
He encouraged the Forge Valley students to persevere and become part of the student democracy, adding: “If you want to change the world you have to get involved.”
Around 65 Year 9 pupils made written applications to become a prefect in Years 10 and 11, with a staff vote crowning the top 35 who were all awarded a blue tie.
In the vote, staff were looking for pupils with great communication, organisation and leadership skills, as well as those who are approachable and could act as a positive role model.
The crowd also heard the results of the Year 10 head prefect elections, in which there were eight applicants had been shortlisted from over 15 applications.
The eight successful applicants had previously written and given speeches, and made posters and videos in order to gain support from their peers.
The winners were voted for by the pupils of every year group, crowning Zoe Lidbury and Rowan Whittle as Head Boy and Head Girl with deputies Linzi Dube and Harry Talbot.
Dale Barrowclough, Headteacher of Forge Valley School said: “We are not just celebrating who becomes the prefects but the process which we used to decide who would become our prefects. I didn’t decide, some head teachers make the decision on who becomes head boy and head girl, but I allowed that decision to be made by the pupils themselves.
“We are celebrating that democratic process and also celebrating the work that our prefects have done in putting themselves up for election.”