100 students prove the value of leadership accreditation

Frances Green, Assistant Headteacher, pupil welfare, Loreto Grammar School, writes…

Loreto Grammar School is very keen to promote student leadership skills, and on appointment I was tasked with introducing an opportunity for the students to develop this aspect of their learning. Having already considered what I wanted such a programme to include, I became aware of the SSAT SLA (Student Leadership Accreditation), which incorporated all the aspects I has considered, with the added benefit of enabling the students to receive an accreditation from a nationally recognised body.

We decided that SLA was appropriate for all our students in years 7-11 (though it would be suitable for older children too), recognising that the different levels of accreditation would take years, rather than months. We aim for every student in years 7-11 to understand the importance of developing their leadership skills (as they would with any other skills) in preparation for life beyond school. We want as many of our students as possible to reach accreditation at bronze level, at least, with some students moving onto silver and gold.

We aim for every student in years 7-11 to understand the importance of developing their leadership skills

More aware of life beyond school

The accreditation scheme immediately raised awareness of what leadership skills were. In many cases students were already practising such skills in school, but were not explicitly aware of how these skills linked to leadership qualities. In addition, students are now more reflective about their own development, and more aware of how they are preparing for life beyond school.

Although several of our students are proactive in seeking out opportunities to contribute to their community, more students have become involved in community-based events (whether that community is local or global). One significant change has been the creation of our SLA Ambassadors – students who have been awarded the Gold standard and now act as coaches and mentors to other students completing their portfolios.

Students also gain a sense of achievement from this, which can boost self-esteem. We hope to see even more students being accredited at all levels, and consequently more students embracing the challenge of becoming an SLA Ambassador.


Initially SLA was launched with the staff to ensure they had a good understanding of the accreditation. The initiative was then presented to the students in key stage assemblies. Portfolios were purchased for each student and time set aside at the beginning of the year to begin the creation of the portfolios (facilitated by form tutors). Tutors devote time during form period at points throughout the year to check progress and discuss any issues. Students take ownership of their portfolio and their own progress, with the form tutors acting as facilitators.

Students take ownership of their portfolio and their own progress

An Inset meeting at the start of this year reviewed our experience so far: with over 100 portfolios accredited, staff understand far more about the evidence needed, etc. Perhaps the most notable example of its impact was the huge sense of achievement shown by a student who had become disengaged after completion of the SLA bronze standard.

Find out more about our Student Leadership Accreditation.

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