Farnborough Hill has introduced a pioneering self-leadership programme normally reserved for FTSE 100 senior executives to sixth formers.
The 130-year-old independent school is offering a unique two-term course to its lower sixth students. The Ivy House Award, which focuses on self-knowledge, self-leadership and self-empowerment, gives students the skills, knowledge and confidence to take ownership for their lives and develop a plan to build the kind of future they want.
The new programme is additional to the compulsory curriculum subject PSHEE (personal, social, health and economic education).
Craig McCready, head of sixth form at Farnborough Hill, said: “There’s been great focus at Farnborough Hill on teamwork, opportunities for public speaking, running events, mentoring younger pupils, all skills needed to be a good leader, but nothing that focused on the pupils reflecting on their own individual skills, abilities and goals. It was still felt we could do more to assist the pupils in realising their ambitions.
“Farnborough Hill produces tenacious, ambitious young women who are more than capable of leading, but the school did not offer a specific programme to develop their leadership skills. Here was Ivy House, a company promising to produce ‘extraordinary leaders’.”
Head Alexandra Neil believes the Award enables each pupil to discover and hone their “unique gifts and talents” to prosper as leaders in their own way, similar to how the school develops musical talent, or linguistic gifts: “The Ivy House Award has enhanced the school’s leadership training tenfold. While the pupils may have already had the nascent skills, informally developed through experiences at Farnborough Hill, the Ivy House Award has revolutionised the way in which the pupils think of themselves as leaders. Their inner explorations have developed confidence in who they are – their weaknesses have been laid bare, their strengths have been celebrated and they have come to realise that they all have the characteristics of a leader.”
Ivy House supports the brightest talent from companies like Aviva, RBS, The Economist and Centrica. Through the Ivy House Award they also work with a number of forward-thinking schools, which are passionate about delivering a connected education that sets students up for future success in the workplace.
The programme offers a blended approach made up of over 40 core videos combined with a series of quizzes, psychometric tools, bespoke exercises and discussion topics. Over two terms, the aim is for students to build the foundations for an extraordinary life, completing their own unique storyboard and game plan of how they get to where want.
Elke Edwards, founder of Ivy House London, ran one of Europe’s leading executive development businesses for 20 years, worked with senior leaders at over 40 percent of the FTSE 100 and won more than 40 awards. But for all the success, she was frustrated by one thing.
She said: “Why are we only bringing this learning to people who have already reached the pinnacle of their careers? Why aren’t we bringing this kind of profound development to young people at a time when it could change the whole course of their lives? My ambition is for this learning to be accessible to any 16-17 year old who wants to take ownership for living an extraordinary life.”