Year 12 Pupils Inspired by Adair Leadership Course

A group of Year 12 pupils had an introduction to the rewards and the responsibilities that come with leadership over an intensive two-day Adair Leadership Course.

The pioneering Adair Leadership theory was developed over 50 years ago, and challenged the prevailing wisdom that leaders are ‘born’, instead demonstrating how leadership can be developed. Differentiating between leadership and management, the theory defines effective leadership through steps based on the individual, the task, and the team. It was developed by British academic John Adair while working as a lecturer in military history at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst. The model was adopted as the leadership framework for all three armed services and is still in use today. Colfe’s is the only school in the UK to run the course, thanks to Colfe’s Head of Outdoor Education Major Cherry, who developed the youth programme in consultation with the Adair Foundation.

Led by Major Cherry, the course provided insight into what makes good leadership, and plenty of opportunities to put the theories into practice. After learning the stages of a task (defining the problem, gathering relevant information, planning, and applying the solution), the students were split into small groups and faced with a series of indoor and outdoor challenges over the two days to apply their new-found knowledge.  With each task led by a different member of the group, situations ranging from ensuring safety around a (hypothetical) nuclear site to crisis management within a casino, and plenty of fun was had throughout.

Major Cherry said, “It was brilliant to see this group of students take part in this course so enthusiastically, they were eager to learn, and threw themselves into the challenges. They could see for themselves in the practical challenges how the theory is put into practice, which is the crucial part of it. The lessons they learned from this course will definitely stand them in good stead as they look to their futures – we hope we will see many of them in leadership positions in whichever field they choose to pursue.”

The students were extremely enthusiastic about the learnings from the course, and how the theories can be put into practical use in their future studies and future careers:

“It has been really beneficial to do this, and so helpful in preparing for the workplace. It is such a good opportunity, I would definitely encourage anyone to take part in this to gain skills.” Ellen

“I have gained so much self-confidence from doing this course. It’s really interesting to learn the theory and then put it all into practice, and has given me great insight into being a leader in real life.” Sofia

“It has shown us that if you can learn and apply the strategies, leadership can be developed and not just ‘born into’.” Jack

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