Learning from books is obviously a crucial component of a child’s success at a school, but learning to be a leader can be hugely important too. Leadership is about developing a strong character, being confident in making decisions, encouraging others, setting goals and staying motivated. At Harrow Hong Kong, there’s a huge range of pupil leadership opportunities and prefect positions that are drawn from the traditions of the Harrow School in the UK. We take a look at a few here, and we get some insights into leadership from Harrow pupils. (Plus, read on for details of upcoming Open Mornings at the school!)
Leadership at Harrow
There is enormous scope for young people to lead in different ways at Harrow Hong Kong. Following the school’s motto, ‘Educational Excellence for Life and Leadership’, leadership forms one of the core aspects of a Harrow school pupil’s education. The aim? To help set children up for life beyond school.
To this end, every pupil is offered opportunities to develop their own leadership skills, and prefect roles are specialised for particular aspects of pupil life. Prefects often take part in leading the younger year groups, and setting an example for other pupils to follow.
Along with the Head Girl and Head Boy and their deputies, and the Heads of Houses, pupils can become leaders across the wide range of available SCAs (“Super Curriculum Activities”) at Harrow. For example:
- Performing Arts Prefect
- Art Prefect
- Food and Nutrition Prefect
- Communications Prefect
- Sport Prefect
- Sustainability Prefect
- Wellbeing Prefect
- Charity Prefect
- Digital and Innovation Prefect
- Global Citizenship Prefect
- STEAM Prefect
- Diversity Prefect
Roles and responsibilities
The roles and responsibilities of Harrow prefects vary from role to role. For example, a Prep House Prefect (Year 13), acts as a role model for their Prep House, making young pupils feel comfortable, and staying after school once a week to spend time with boarders and get to know them better. The Performing Arts Prefect works with staff and scholars to oversee musical activities happening in the school, from ensemble concerts to organising Harrow’s Got Talent and more. And the Poet Laureate gets commissions each year to write poetry for school events such as Speech Day.
Prefects build on their teamwork and communication skills while working with different age groups, they take initiative to propose new ideas to help to improve the school, and they gain management skills and other soft skills – skills that are undoubtedly transferable to the workplace.
Applying to be a prefect
Pupils are given a talk at the end of Year 12 on what it means to be a prefect. They then have to write an application letter to the head of Sixth Form. After this, there is an interview process where the application is reviewed with the Head and members of the Senior Leadership Team.. Prefects are then selected and assigned to different specific prefect roles based on how they have performed in the interview and what kind of passions and interests each one has.
10 quotes from Harrow school pupils on leadership
“We are one of the main bridges between the pupils of the school and the teachers.”
– Catrina, Head Girl
“The prefects provide a way to connect with the pupils and make sure that their voice is heard.”
– Anjeli, Deputy Head Girl
“Feeling responsible is very empowering, because when you feel like ‘I want to be a role model for others’, it actually encourages your growth overall.”
– Warren, Deputy Head Boy
“Taking on these leadership roles has helped me gain a lot of confidence.”
– Stephanie, Poet Laureate and Communications Prefect
“It’s about this kind of communal fellowship together that we are working towards a certain goal, and that’s very important.”
– Josh, Head of Shaftesbury
“My role as wellbeing prefect is to both raise the pupil body and staff’s physical and mental wellbeing, and hopefully raise awareness about the topic of wellbeing around the school.”
– Adrian, Prefect of Wellbeing and Diversity
“I meet with our Head of Sports quite regularly and I also meet with the chef and catering team to communicate issues regarding food and nutrition.”
– Tristan, Prefect for Sports and Nutrition
“I would like to become a cardiothoracic surgeon one day and I think the communication and leadership I’ve built up just by participating in the prefect team has greatly helped me to go towards those goals.”
– Dongwook, Head Boy
“It’s rewarding to connect with younger musicians across the Upper School through my role, and also to help them voice all their wonderful ideas and opinions.”
– Anna, Prefect of Performing Arts
“Harrow is an academically focused school, so it’s important to recognise other aspects of school life, and charity is a really important part of that.”
– Alison, Prefect of Charity
Click on these videos to see Harrow school leaders speak more about their roles and learning to be a leader:
Find out more at an Open Morning at Harrow
Prospective parents and pupils are welcome to join an upcoming online Open Morning, to hear a presentation from the Head, join a Q&A panel with our students, and also enjoy a virtual tour of the school. (The school campus is temporarily closed to visitors due to COVID restrictions.)
26 May 2022: Lower School Open Morning (K1-Year 5; ages 2-9)
See more in our Living in Hong Kong section.