Head student roles return after more than two decades

After an absence of twenty three years, the roles of Head Boy and Head Girl have this week been reintroduced at Withernsea High School.

Senior members of the student council were invited to apply for the positions before the school’s Senior Leadership Team reviewed the applications and appointed the successful candidates.

On Tuesday 14th February, year 11 students Sam Storey, Alex Ogilvie and Mercedes Cook-Hannah became Head Boy, Head Girl and Deputy Head Girl respectively. The students were each presented with an enamel badge by special guest Stephen Wallis, a former pupil of the school who had the privilege of being the first Head Boy of the ‘new’ high school when it opened in 1955.

 
Recalling his time in the role, Mr Wallis commented: 'We had responsibility for the prefects and had to allocate their duties.'

'We had to assist with corridor discipline during lesson
changing and break times. We were expected to keep an eye on new students, especially the younger ones, and help integrate them in to the school.'

'We assisted with school visitors, speech days and open days and generally acted in a manner the teachers
expected of us.'

'I regarded the role very much as an honour and I’m sure Alex, Sam and Mercedes will too.'

In a continuation of past tradition, the students each signed their names in the school’s original prefect book to begin a record of a new era of head students. Mr Wallis was also
invited to sign, marking his second appearance in the book a mere 62 years after the first. 

Headteacher Richard Williman said: 'We were delighted to welcome Mr Wallis back to the school and felt it quite fitting that he should present the students with their badges. As a school, we are really proud of our history and it means a lot to us to have former students engaging in the daily life of the school.'

Speaking of the work expected of the new head students, Mr Williman added: 'The roles of Head Boy and Head Girl are really crucial because the students are now the public faces of the school. They will be expected to lead the student council and be exemplary role models to all students. In addition, they will work with the governing body and senior leadership team to review our provision and discuss how the student council can contribute towards its improvement. They will represent the student body and speak on behalf of the student council at events and meetings. I congratulate the students for their commitment to the school and look forward to working with them.'

Newly appointed Head Boy Sam Storey commented: 'It means a lot to be Head Boy after all the years of being in the school and I'm really pleased I have been given this opportunity. As a member of the student council, it has been an amazing thing to help change the school for the better and I hope that we can all continue to make this the best school we can make it. The opportunity to help the school and the students is one that I enjoy to the fullest and will continue to commit to as hard as I can.'

Prefects, and the associated titles of Head Boy and Head Girl, were first introduced to Withernsea in 1951 while the high school was still operating from the present-day junior school site. At that time, Michael Parrish and Brenda Stott were the first to be given the head student titles which they retained until 1953.

The original register of prefects reveals that there were a total of 17 upon their inception in 1951. By 1961, the numbers had grown to 87 after the introduction of Sub Prefects that year.

In 1964, formal roles of Deputy Head Boy and Deputy Head Girl were introduced and the total number of prefects continued to hold strong for the next ten years. 

Change came in 1974 with a streamlining of the system which saw the large numbers of prefects replaced by four School Officers who were elected by members of staff and students of the Sixth Form. These officers retained the titles of Head Boy, Head Girl, Deputy Head Boy and Deputy Head Girl.

1994 saw the end of Head Boys and Girls by title with the introduction of male and female School Officers. The officer roles continued until 2007 when they became obsolete.


Alumni Spotlight: Stephen Wallis
After visiting the school on the 60th Anniversary Open Day in July 2015, Mr Wallis signed up to our Alumni. Please click here to view his profile to learn more about the impact Withernsea High School had on his life and subsequent career.


 

 
Left to right: Mercedes Cook-Hannah, Sam Storey and Alex Ogilvie sign their names in the original prefect book, watched by Stephen Wallis.

 

After the presentation, the head students led Mr Wallis on a tour of the new school. A building which he described as 'mind-blowing'.


The old list of Head Boys and Head Girls from 1951 to 1994.


The old list of Deputy Head Boys and Girls from 1964 to 1994.

 

The school's original prefects book exists in the school archive. It contains the names of all prefects, head students and school officers between 1951 and 2007. The 2017 additions mark a new chapter in the book.