One of the key reasons for completing Prep 7 and 8 at Hatherop is the increased opportunity that the children have to take on roles of responsibility within the school.
These roles help to develop vital skills for the future, such as self-confidence and self-reliance, experience of leadership, and the ability to be able to communicate effectively with others.
By the end of Prep 6, many of the children have had the experience of being ‘buddies’ with one of the classes in the lower part of the school. When moving into Prep 7, however, this is taken a step further as they have the opportunity to ‘mentor’ Prep 6 children as they take on the role of ‘buddies’ to the younger classes. Additionally, a number of Prep 7 pupils can be made Assistant Prefects in the course of the year, helping staff with snack, tea and outside break times.
In Prep 8, a number of more official positions of responsibility become available, including Heads and Deputy Heads of School, Heads of Houses, Heads of Boys’ and girls’ sport, Head Chorister, Head of Boarding and Chair of School Council. Although these roles have specific responsibilities and expectations, all require strong organisational skills and ambassadorial skills. In Prep 8, all pupils become full Prefects as well, with duties and responsibilities that they are expected to fulfil each week.
As well as the more specific roles above, all pupils in Prep 7 and 8 learn about the importance of being good role models to younger pupils. By the age of 11-13, the children are developing the maturity to understand this concept and being at the ‘top’ of a Prep school that goes up to age 13 allows them to understand and experience the importance of role modelling.
The idea of responsibility can sometimes be a little daunting. By giving children the opportunity to take on the roles above in a very supportive setting, however, they are able to embrace and relish the challenge, and are very well-placed to take on greater opportunities when they move on to their Senior schools. There are, of course, one or two ‘perks’ that come with being prefects and holding roles of responsibility. For example, Prep 8 have the use of a Common Room area in the Art block in which they can socialise at break times and, at this time of year in particular, the opportunity to make their own hot chocolate is very welcome!