Student Leadership at ISCT

Content shared by Mr. Paul Moore, Director of Student Affairs, International School of Cape Town

At ISCT we believe that our students, by the time they reach Yr12, should be equipped with the skills required to serve in a leadership role. To achieve this, students are encouraged to use their initiative, be creative, be innovative and display self-confidence throughout their educational journey with us.

All our Year 12 students, at the start of their AS programme, will be assigned a portfolio. The school has identified a list of portfolios that are relevant within the context of ISCT. This is certainly not a set list as if there is a need to rethink what is offered, then additional and/or different portfolios are considered.

Our current list of portfolios includes the following:

AV Crew

These students are involved in a host of school, cultural or other events that require sound and/or lighting. They are sometimes required to not only operate the sound and lights but also to design a lighting programme for school events.
Community Service These portfolio leaders identify various community-based projects with a view to seeing how the school community can become involved in answering their needs. 
Cultural Events Cultural events play an integral part in the school programme. As the portfolio leaders, these students will plan and/or host these events. Their purpose is to showcase the talent within the school.
Environmental Affairs Raising awareness of the condition of our environment is foremost in the minds of these Portfolio Leaders. Their focus is on getting students to take responsibility for their environment and to find sustainable solutions.
Fundraising This is a purely Yr 12 focused portfolio where the purpose is to raise funds for the Yr12 dance.
General Events General Events portfolio leaders are required to be involved in all aspects of school life, whether it be Parent / Teacher meetings or the Founders’ Day celebration. Their brief is to coordinate various school events and ensuring the smooth running of them.
House Captains House Captains organise teams for Inter-House events. They run assemblies and house meetings. A number of Inter-House events have been developed over the years through House Captain initiatives.
New and Leaving Students The international nature of our school means that we have an inflow and outflow of students as they move to and from Cape Town. The New and Leaving Students Portfolio is there to make the ‘welcome’ a memorable occasion and the ‘farewell’ one that will make those leaving the school know that they will be missed and remembered.
Peer Support

Students face many challenges, whether it be academically, socially or emotionally. Our Peer Support Portfolio leaders are trained to tune into these needs. It is also their responsibility to put together a team of peers whose prime purpose is to be there for fellow students.
Phocus The Phocus team is there to create awareness of events in and around the school. They do this by regularly eliciting articles from other students and also digitally capturing key moments within the school. These are electronically published on a regular basis.
Tech Support This is a new portfolio and has been birthed by the growing need to support staff and students who are having technical issues which stem from the increased need for virtual lessons and presentations.
Transformation and Diversity This is a new portfolio. Many events that took place globally and locally have seen the need for this portfolio to be included. Students who feel marginalised should have a space where they can express their feelings. The role of these portfolio leaders is also to address the concerns of those who feel marginalised in a platform that will bring about change. 

These portfolios are student-run and managed. Each portfolio, however, has a teacher who will serve as a mentor. The responsibility still lies with the Portfolio Leader to grow their respective portfolios by bringing on board like-minded students and working towards continuously improving it.

While all portfolio leaders are seen as student leaders, we do have a Prefect Body. ISCT prefects are given added responsibilities within the school, which expand beyond their portfolio. From this group of prefects, two Head Prefects are nominated. These two Head Prefects are not gender-based.

Portfolio Leaders and Prefects are evaluated on at least two occasions during their tenure and their performance is linked to our Colours programme. 

Comments from Seojin Park and Masego Naledi, Head Prefects for 2021:

“The Leadership programmes offered at ISCT are a great opportunity for us, as students, to develop key leadership skills. From a young age, at the end of Key Stage 2, we are taught the value of leadership and are given leadership roles, allowing early development of our aptitude for leadership.  These opportunities for leadership only grow as the years go by, culminating in our time in Key Stage 5 where we are all able to fulfil our role as a portfolio leaders. This allows us to work in our own field of interest, and through this experience, we not only learn communication skills and teamwork but also a great deal of time management and organisational skills. 

Moreover, the role of a prefect is a significant motivator for many students to be an example for the rest of the school and help guide them as senior members of the ISCT community. Our involvement in ISCT has taught us all responsibility and the qualities of good leadership.”

At ISCT we are committed to empowering our students to become leaders in their own lives, in the communities in which they find themselves and in the world. It is this ambition that makes us seek out opportunities to allow our students to lead different initiatives so they can exercise leadership capabilities in real-life settings. Our vision statement says that our goal is to empower students to shape a brighter world – and our student leadership focus is one of the key ways in which we do this.