Belhaven Hill School

Co-ed Boarding & Day School for ages 5-13

Form 1 Leadership Weekend

Form 1 Leadership Weekend

Form 1 Leadership weekend

Saturday 3rd – Sunday 4th September 2022

The idea of coming back to school early is perhaps not universally popular with children luxuriating in a long, hot, summer holiday. However, the benefits of ‘pre-season’ activities are multiple – the group has a chance to bond, to meet new additions to the cohort, to settle in and, perhaps most importantly, to focus in on the things that matter. Whether it be a sport pre-season with a focus on diet and physical preparation or, as with this, a leadership weekend looking at elements of organisation, teamwork and motivation, the chance to be together is one not to be missed.

The inaugural Belhaven leadership weekend started with a session delivered by Elevate Education expert, Mohammad. He spoke about the importance of interrupting the curve of memory decay with regular bursts of revision, rather than waiting to revise in the last few weeks before an exam. He gave Form 1 booklets to work through, encouraging them to investigate different methods of note-taking and focusing on the importance of condensing, rather than compiling. We now have access to a wide range of resources to support Form 1 as they look to prepare for their exams this year, and this includes webinars for parents to offer practical tips on how to manage those potentially stressful holiday periods in the build-up to exams.

At 6pm, Form 1 gathered on the Red Stairs ready for a formal dinner. I spoke about my expectations of them and how their treatment of others would define the legacy that they would leave. We then enjoyed a delicious supper – steak and chips, followed by a fruit salad – before they all went over to the Rosie Room to watch a film together. We are providing every encouragement to them all to just enjoy one another’s company, and it was lovely to see Form 1 out on the lawn in front of the school last night, on another beautiful evening, mixing together.

After a good breakfast on Sunday morning, we went out to meet James Ferrier and Darren Morgan, who were to run the leadership tasks for the morning. Form 1 were split into 5 groups and sent round the carousel of challenges. They had to work together to succeed – communication and humility were the keys to most of the tasks and it was great to see the imaginative ways in which they approached them. Blindfolded tent-making, transporting a kettle across a raging torrent by creating a pulley system, making a stretcher out of wooden poles and rope and carrying them to safety, working out how to fill a cup of water in the middle of a minefield without stepping in the danger zone and with just a few elastic bungees to work with and having the nimbleness of mind to debate key topics without any access to the internet during research – all of these challenges were met with enthusiasm and enjoyment.

After a review of the morning, Form 1 had a picnic lunch and some free time before the younger boarders returned. Having already settled in, it was great to see them taking the initiative and helping families lug bags upstairs and settle in to new dorms. It is that kind of service that true leaders render without thought. The first fortnight of term has seen Form 1 demonstrating the skills that they have learnt on a regular basis and I am delighted with how they have responded to the opportunities presented to them – long may it continue!