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School’s new ‘red tie prefects’ are not elitist, says headteacher

James Hadley has introduced prefects in his first team as head at Haverstock School

09 November, 2017 — By Helen Chapman

James Hadley welcomes a new prefect

A HEADTEACHER says his new prefect system, with special red ties handed out to well-behaved students, is not intended to divide pupils.

Parents at Haverstock School in Chalk Farm read in the weekly newsletter that the first children in year 11 to be given prefect status were “members of an elite group”.

Under the new system, pupils with good attendance, behaviour and the correct uniform can qualify for a red tie, which leads to the privilege of being trusted to leave the school grounds in Haverstock Hill at lunchtime. It is one of the first changes made by new headteacher James Had­ley, who is in his first term in the new job, having taken over from long-serving John Dowd.

He said the prefects had been introduced “with the intention to be inclusive rather than elitist”. A month into the system, 90 students already have red-tie status. They will lead school tours and attend open events.

Mr Hadley said: “This is not about being elitist – it is not something that can be joined. “Initially, when the scheme was first introduced, those who had been made prefects were part of a minority so could be seen as part of an elite.”

He added: “There is a silent majority of pupils doing well and it is important in a school to have a celebrating culture around those doing good, not just recognise those doing badly. “It is not about a separation of so-called good and bad pupils, however, but about recognising those doing the right thing.”

The school, whose former pupils include the Miliband brothers, Ed and David, is planning to develop the model by introducing prefect pins for other year groups to demonstrate recognition of good efforts.

Mr Hadley added: “There are standards which everyone can aspire to and is able to achieve. “Prefects are role models to the rest of the school, showing the basic things indicative of a student going on to achieve well as a student and in life.” He added that the school’s vision is that one day all pupils will be red-tied prefects.

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