No more head boys or girls as Grammar goes neutral
TRADITIONAL head boy and head girl roles at the Grammar School have been replaced in favour of gender-neutral terms.
Head teacher Liz Coffey said the decision to create a Student Voice Leadership Team with a chair and vice-chairperson removed barriers for suitable candidates.
‘It’s been more of a change of name than a change of role. Students still go through a comprehensive application process. They apply in writing with references from their tutors, there is a hustings where their peers vote and an interview with a panel of sixth-form management,’ she said.
There are a total of seven places available, two leadership roles and five places on the team council.
This year two boys took the roles of chair and vice chairperson of the board with three girls sitting on the team.
However, if there were to be a significant gender imbalance on the team in future years, Mrs Coffey said she would look to address the matter.
‘I would want to guard against that and ensure there was appropriate representation but it doesn’t concern me that it would ever happen. It would maybe make us look at why there weren’t a proportionate number of candidates coming forward,’ she said.
It is felt that the new system is a meritocracy that also addresses wider societal concerns surrounding stereotypes.
‘You are getting a position not because of your gender but because you are the best person for the position.
‘Just like I am not a headmistress, I am a head teacher, it is important because of job credibility. People will still draw a nurse as a woman when asked. This is another way to try and ensure the stereotypes disappear,’ she said.
Those on the Student Voice Leadership Team frequently attend senior leadership team meetings and most recently took part in a review of food provided at the school.
‘It is still a very good thing to have on your CV, they might just need to explain what the role is,’ said Mrs Coffey.
Another reason the move is seen as a positive for the students is that it does not alienate students who identify as transgender.
‘That’s just another reason to do it, it’s win-win. I just hope there are no barriers in place now for people who feel they have the skills to do the job,’ she said.