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Character & Leadership Arc


It is a fundamental aim of King’s that we place as much emphasis on both leadership and character development as we do on academic success. Good leaders are people who have a good vision of where they are going in life, are articulate in that they have the ability to communicate and align people with that vision and the confidence to take people with them. They also display both integrity and humility. At the heart of the academy therefore it is the firm belief that we must aim to create moments when our students can see and believe in themselves as never before and to translate such moments into lessons for everyday life. In order to unlock leadership potential in our young people, leadership is delivered through five components: theoretical leadership, practical leadership, enterprise, service and professionalism.

Foundation Programme

Leadership is delivered as part of all students’ core curriculum. Leadership theory is delivered by King’s Academic Tutors through novel and exciting leadership packages written by subject matter experts within the Great Schools Trust. This bespoke Leadership allows students to learn and develop a deeper understanding of the basics of leadership and becoming a leader. Furthermore, how to become a better follower and team member. The practical application of leadership is delivered through a number of school-based activities through enrichment and Super Learning Days, discovery and adventure on the Character Residentials in Year 7 and 8 to North Wales and the Lake District and in wider school life through leadership opportunities and positions. 

Senior Programme

From Year 9 all students begin their Duke of Edinburgh’s (DofE) Award. Students continue to study Leadership theory as part of their core curriculum through the Great Schools Trust leadership curriculum. This provides our students with a leadership trajectory from Years 7 through to 11. They link their Character lessons to leadership and develop concrete connections to both subjects.   For practical leadership development, students will continue to undertake their DofE with the aim to complete their silver by the end of Year 11. Those in the Combined Cadet Force for enrichment also have leadership opportunities by becoming Non-commissioned officers (NCOs) forming part of the leadership structure and are role models to the junior cadets and inform training and delivery across the Trust. Within wider school life there continues to be positions to develop students’ leadership and influence the King’s experience.

Student Leadership Curriculum 

As part of our vision and ethos, we are keen to ensure that students leave King’s with a strong sense of their own mission and calling. When they are ready for the outside world, we want our students to leave with a desire to serve and to become the next generation of leaders. The Leadership curriculum forms part of the Character and Leadership Arc, this aims to develop the academic, professional and character skills needed to be successful in life, so that all students can make the most of their abilities and interests and fulfil their true potential. Throughout their 5 years at King’s, all students will undertake a curriculum that is rich in the development of leadership, citizenship, character and enterprise.

The Great Schools Trust has developed its own bespoke leadership curriculum starting in Year 7 and continues through to Year 11. The students follow a progressive programme that allows them to learn and explore leadership theory and practice. 

The lessons follow themes for each learning cycles that reflect and enhance wider school delivery. These themes link to: the character residentials they undertake in Year 7 and Year 8, the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, Combined Cadet Force and many other school leadership opportunities. 

The Leadership Curriculum is Based on Several Principles:  

Leadership is a Complex Science

It important to learn about determination to change, the need for vision and inspiration, the ability to take calculated risks and to work effectively as a team. Students develop these key leadership attributes through our unique ‘character’ ASPIRE development programme, and through our DRIVE business and enterprise programme.

The “Stretch and Flow” process

Students are “stretched” out of their comfort zone by being exposed to new content and situations. That new knowledge can then be applied into more challenging experiences and situations, creating a sense of ‘Flow’.

Principles of Leadership Theory

Leadership theory, through a weekly programme of classroom based and experiential learning experiences are provided for all King’s students through an innovative and highly sophisticated leadership programme. A mix of structured time in the classroom allows students to learn and absorb. Skilled leadership “facilitators” then provide a practical perspective of leadership through our annual residential programme, as well as a plethora of leadership-based enrichment activities.

Exposure to Positive Role Models

Younger students have the opportunity to learn from, and interact with, recognised King’s student leaders every day through our vertically structured mentoring and academic tutor system. Here, they watch and learn from the best to then model the same leadership behaviours to new students as they themselves become the next generation of student leaders.

Multiple Sources of Learning

The curriculum is designed to enable participants to learn from multiple sources. Structured time for reflection allows them to learn from and about themselves. Experts in leadership share new knowledge and ideas in both the classroom and outdoor settings and a programme of ‘world of work’ speakers share their life and professional ‘flight paths’.

Theory into Practice

Facilitators provide perspectives on leadership ranging from John Adair’s Action Centred Leadership Theory to Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. We also teach students underlying principles from theories of human motivation, including ‘self-deception’ through our partnership with the Arbinger Institute, and aspects of Self-Determination Theory, through our partnership with a leading Russell Group University. Then, taking advantage of our outdoor character residential providers physical surroundings, nature provides opportunities for students to put leadership theory into practice.

Leadership Doesn’t End When the Academy Does

Every student commits to continued learning on their own through our innovative 5 level leadership competency framework. Each level includes a ‘Service’ award in leadership through community service within the wider area. The King’s framework is also aligned to Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award in Year 9 and Silver Award in Years 10 and 11.

Why Leadership?

Leading is more about learning specific skills than possessing inherent natural qualities. In this way, being a leader is similar to being an athlete. Certainly, some children are born with attributes that aid in athletics, such as size and quick reflexes but success in athletics requires thousands of hours of practice to acquire the skills needed for success. There is no substitute for practising forehands and backhands if you wish to excel at tennis. Ultimately, success in any field is to do with the constant honing of skills through constant practice. By continually offering young people the opportunity to lead we allow them to develop greater personal drive and increase their determination to succeed.  Team playing, risk taking and developing strategies to positively influence others are all character strengths we seek to encourage.