Student Leadership, Participation and Democracy
This article analyses modes of participation which enable schools to develop as democratic communities of learning and leadership. It mines a rich vein of work sustained at Cambridge over many years. Contributors to this work have included Jean Rudduck, Michael Fielding, Donald McIntyre, John MacBeath and Madeleine Arnot. The modes of participation considered include student voice or consultation, students as researchers, participative pedagogy and student leadership. These resonate with the values of the Leadership for Learning (LfL) endeavour (MacBeath & Dempster, 2009) in which shared leadership is a cornerstone. This article explores the relationship between the key concepts of learning, participation and democracy. It draws its analysis from a series of key projects initiated under the umbrella of LfL in Cambridge in recent years, including the „Influence and Participation of Young People in their Learning‟ project (MacBeath et al., 2008), the „Evaluation of the Learning to Lead Initiative‟ project (Frost & MacBeath, 2010) and the „Student Leadership for School Improvement‟ project (Roberts & Nash, 2010). All of these projects have enabled students at a variety of ages to exercise leadership and become full partners in the enterprise of learning. The analysis illuminates the links between the agency of learners, the development of their capacity for leadership and the growth of holistic democracy (Woods & Woods, 2011).