A "head girl," also known as a "head prefect," is a term used mostly in private schools throughout Great Britain, Ireland and the Commonwealth nations, to denote a young woman who has the maturity and ability to perform duties of rank and consequence among her classmates. Traditionally, the role was exclusive to boys (known as Head Boys); however, as girls are now as much of the education system as boys are, the title of head girl has entered British vocabulary.
Role Model for Positive Behavior
Everyone involved with the school, from instructors to the school's newest inductees, have high expectations for how a head girl behaves. A head girl is required to be a role model for her peers, especially younger students. As a result, head girls are expected to be mature, responsible and capable of making excellent choices, whether in class, at school functions or during their everyday lives. Other expected behaviors include punctuality, politeness, modest and appropriate dress, regular attendance to class and school activities, and a positive attitude. Head girls may be asked to "be an extra pair of eyes" for teachers and maintain discipline among classmates.
Head girls are required to represent the school at activities such as sports activities, parent events, academic functions, promotional activities, fundraising activities, charity events and social events. The activities vary from school to school. It is also common for a head girl to be expected to attend meetings conducted by school heads that relate to the student body or class meetings organized by the students. The head girl may also be asked to assign and organize the duties of the younger prefects at the school.
Induction of New Students
One of the most important roles of a head girl is to be involved in the induction of new students. In addition to being an excellent role model to the new, young students, a head girl can also be an inspiration for the new inductees to shoot for success, a source of encouragement during the first days of school, and a resource for questions.
Fostering Positive Relationships
Head girls are often asked to foster positive relationships amongst their peers and the professionals working at the school. St. George's English International School specifically asks head girls to foster family relationships and encourage communication at the school. Head girls must not only foster relationships with new girls, school headmasters, instructors and other professionals at the school; they may also be required to foster relationships within the community and with potential attendees and families. Some schools ask the head girls to lead tours of the school to new families and attendees or potential families.
A head girl is also often expected to be an ambassador for her school. In addition to leading tours and being a public face to potential students and students' families, a head girl may be asked to speak at public events, such as charity events, and present herself as a public face of the school.
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