Throughout their time at Peebles High School, our young people are expected to embody the school values and encouraged to embrace opportunities to develop leadership skills in a variety of ways in class, through our voluntary curriculum (e.g. Duke of Edinburgh, Model UN, school music or sport clubs), and through participation in wider community activities and groups such as Guides and Scouts.

As students progress through the school, these leadership skills and their general personal investment in the school will begin to be noticed and praised, or rewarded more formally. Our Pupil Parliament, Ambassadors Program, House Leadership, Prefect and Senior Student Council are the main ways in which which our pupils can take on formal, whole-school leadership roles.

Student Parliament

Session 2021/22 saw the inauguration of our Student Parliament, a replacement for our Student Council. This body, made up of pupils from all year groups, encourages our students to participate in decision-making in our school following the mantra “Stand Up, Speak Out, Make Change”.

In 2021, 83 candidates across all year groups stood for election, underlining the desire that exists within our pupil body to take on leadership roles. The 30 candidates that were elected (with a turnout of 78.8%) have gone on to ably take our school forward with their work on priorities such as bullying and Rights Respecting Schools. They also demonstrated leadership in initiating a highly successful fundraiser for Ukraine and in leading the school through a participatory budget process where students decided how best to spend £5,000 on improving the school. In addition, Student Parliament members met with local councillors to discuss their views on issues beyond the school itself, as well as other officials from SBC and the architects for the new Peebles High School. The Student Parliament were supported in their work through training sessions provided by the Democratic Society.

Follow our Student Parliament’s work on Twitter @parliament_phs, or speak to Mr McMordie in M31 for more information.

Rights Respecting Schools Award

The Rights Respecting Schools Award puts children’s rights at the heart of schools in the UK. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) is used as a guide by the UK Committee for UNICEF as they work with schools to create safe and inspiring places to learn, where children are respected, their talents nurtured, and they are able to thrive.

At Peebles High School we are currently working towards our Silver RSS Award. Our plan to achieve this includes the following –

  • Recruiting ‘Rights Ambassadors’ and delivering a training session.
  • Delivering a training session for all staff on Rights Respecting Schools.
  • Helping to organise a global day on rights for students.
  • Work with the student parliament to identify a charity to support.
  • Implementing a ‘right of the week’ into our bulletin and House Time tutors will discuss these rights with pupils.
  • We also have posters throughout the school promoting different rights.

An Ambassador is an envoy, who represents the school, and exhibits our values. In S2 upwards we recognise pupils who have lived by our values both in school and the wider community by awarding this title and providing opportunities for these pupils to take on leadership roles at school events and to support faculty prefects with school improvement.
Our Ambassadors are selected following an invite for nominations from teachers and other adults in our school community, adults who lead groups in the wider community, and high street shop keepers or members of the public. Any pupil in S2-S6 can be nominated.

Duke of Edinburgh

From S3-S6 our students can participate in the Duke of Edinburgh scheme, an aspect of our voluntary curriculum that we invest heavily in. We are delighted to say we have a significant and growing number of pupils achieving Gold awards at the school, a testament to the leadership qualities of our young people.

Senior Phase

By S4, students may have also had opportunities to lead in the context of sport teams, music events, art festivals, foreign exchanges, drama or writing events, cooking or fashion competitions or other projects within or outside the school in a variety of fields.

House Captains

Leadership potential is then recognised again by the school community such that S5 pupils, along with S6, are eligible to be appointed House Captains through application and interview. This role requires candidates to undertake significant responsibility in the leadership of our inter-house program.


All pupils in S6 are required to be role models to pupils in all year groups both in school and outside in our community. It is an important and challenging year but also one offering responsibilities, leadership opportunities and experiences.

Prefect roles are high profile and the expectations of pupils who take on this role are high. Our Prefect team is selected through two different but complimentary processes.

Firstly all 10 subject faculties and the Learning Support Department in the school are asked to propose a Faculty Prefect that has shown leadership and commitment in the faculty over the previous 5 years and who will offer leadership of pupil activities in the faculty throughout S6.

At the same time as this process is underway, a combination of whole staff and S6 pupil votes create a further team of 25, giving a total of 36 in our Prefect team.

Each prefect commits to at least two duties every fortnight as well as attending school events and  serving on at least one of the following committees:

  • Social Events – Christmas dances, Burns supper, Halloween Dances, Graduation ceremony.
  • Legacy – Yearbook, Hoodies, S6 Quiz
  • PHS Ethos – Duty rotations, Charity events, S6 common room, Ambassador leadership.
  • Student Voice – All year group opinions/task forces.
  • School Service – Leadership and support for School Service, The Store Crew, MVP, Not Alone

Other members of the school community are invited onto these committees.

Senior Student Council

Prefects or S6 House Captains that wish to put their names forward to be part of the Senior School Council are interviewed and 10 are selected in addition to the Head Prefects and their Deputies.

Head and Deputy Head Prefects

In 2018, the school moved to a merit-based selection of 2 Head and 2 Deputy Head Prefects, a move away from our previous system of recruiting a Head Boy and Head Girl.