SSAT Awards (Year 8)
Student Leadership Accreditation
The Student Leadership Accreditation (SLA) is an innovative way of recognising students’ leadership skills and the impact that they have in the classroom, across the school, and in the wider community
Across SSAT’s networks, students of all ages are engaged in exciting, radical and challenging activities. Whilst many of these carry recognition in their own right, the SLA the skills of leadership, encompassing all activities students are engaged in. SSAT knows that when student voice and leadership has a real impact, individual students learn more effectively, classroom relationships are strengthened, and school-wide transformation is made possible. For this reason, the SLA is completely free for every student in SSAT member schools: whether secondary, primary, special or international.
The SLA was developed by students, for students, in partnership with teachers, HE and FE institutions, and employers. Together they identified ten key skills that young people need to be successful leaders, and grouped into three core themes: developing myself, contributing to my community, and working with others.
These skills and themes are grouped into a self-assessment framework, which can be adapted to reflect the schools’ context and ethos. Students assess themselves against this framework and then actively seek opportunities to advance themselves and gather evidence to showcase their new skills in a portfolio. Students can work towards the SLA at three levels: bronze, silver, and gold. Unlike other awards, the SLA is moderated by students’ peers as well as by SSAT, ensuring the process both reinforces and rewards meaningful student leadership.
What are the benefits of the SLA?
The SLA was developed ‘by students, for students’, and it is this focus on the individual that makes the award so popular across SSAT schools. As well as the prestige of accreditation, the process that students go through in becoming accredited is of great benefit. This process encourages students to: Critically self-reflect on their own skills as leaders, Work collaboratively to plan how they will meet the criteria and evidence it, Organise and structure their evidence, Peer assess others’ work against criteria, Aspire to take on increasingly challenging leadership responsibilities.
Many of the skills students use in this process reinforce key learning competencies in the classroom, building on work by Dylan Wiliam, Guy Claxton and David Hargreaves. The award itself provides valuable evidence of students’ all round achievements when applying for colleges, universities or jobs. George Whittingham, a student from Ringwood School who helped develop the award, saw the benefits when he went for an interview for a summer job. He took his CV, references and his smart leather SLA portfolio, ‘but the person interviewing me wasn’t interested in my CV and references,’ said George. ‘He wanted me to talk him through the portfolio. And yes, I got the job!’