student leadership


School Type: Subsidised Private, Non-confessionnal Primary and Secondary School

Age Group: 3-18

Year Selected: 2015

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Singelijn gives tools to the students enabling them to excel well beyond their school curriculum. As a continuation of the primary school, a secondary school was initiated by a group of parents which also offers an active pedagogy and inclusive education.

By synthesizing several schools of thought and constantly questionning, challenging and adapting their methods, the school evolves on an ongoing basis to offer the best support to their students' learning.

Changemaker initiatives :

  • The inclusion of students with learning disabilities and physical, cognitive, social or psychological disabilities as a way to make allstudents grow in respect and appreciation for the richness of difference.
  • To ensure a harmonious continuity in the education of the young adolescents, the school fosters cooperation between students, between teachers and students but also between the school, families and external partners.
  • Children have the habit of learning through mind-mapping in order to mix artistic representation with basic learnings. They developed “solution corners” in Kindergarden where children can resolve conflicts on their own, without the intervention of an adult.

De Verwondering

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Location: Nijmegen, Netherlands

School Type: Public primary school

Age group: 4-12

Number of students: 440

Year elected: 2017



The name of this school literally translates to “a sense of wonder”, which is at the foundation of their educational approach; A sense of wonder, as well as trust in each other, and curiousity and care regarding the world around us.

With a strong focus on the possibilities that technological advancements in the classroom have to offer, students at De Verwondering learn by means of their personalized learning tracks and develop their social and emotional skills through value-based curricula and a strong sense of community.  This school nurtures future leaders who will not only be able to manage themselves in an ever-changing world, but will do so with empathy.

True North Efterskole

Location: Snaptun, Denmark

School Type: Private, Multi-level “Efterskole” (9-10th grade)

Age group: 14-16

Number of students: 140

Year Elected: 2016

True North Efterskole (9-10th grade) is a Danish “Efterskole” in Snaptun that works with strength-based learning to promote personal leadership and life skills. Founded in 2012, True North Efterskole works as a model for the 21st century school where new, researched ideas can be tested out in a safe environment. The school gets a lot of influence from positive psychology and uses creativity and an alternative curriculum with focus on academic, social and personal skills to improve the students’ performance. True North Efterskole (TNE) believes that these three areas are equally essential in order to navigate and thrive in the 21st century, in life and at future workplaces. TNE is an international model of excellence in education that empowers the entire learning community of students, teachers, leaders and parents to maximize individual potential by enhancing their life capabilities through academic growth, personal strengths, and social competence to navigate a meaningful life.

True North's vision is to inspire and develop the next generation of young people. The goal is to lift the individual young person to develop his or her own potential and contribute positively to society throughout their lives

Examples of changemaking initiatives:

  • At True North Efterskole the students are taught the subject Unlocking Potential (UP), created and developed by the school itself. During these sessions students are educated 11 themes based on leadership, social entrepreneurship and competencies for personal development. Students are divided into smaller coaching “navigations” groups of 8-10 set to explore and develop each person’s unique potential with meetings every week.
  • TNE uses a range of research based learning styles. For example the teachers often applies “Cooperative Learning” techniques, where the students get the chance to lead the class. The teachers help the students to set the framework and the students then lead the class through a peer-to-peer exercise.
  • TNE uses the student assessment tool “Ruben” with individual goal setting around academic and personal development (for example social skills).

Ørestad Gymnasium

Location: Copenhagen, Denmark

School Type: Public, Upper Secondary School

Age group: 16-19

Number of students: 1088

Year Elected: 2016

Ørestad Gymnasium’s vision “Tomorrow Today” aims to develop education that prepares young people to become changemakers in the local and global community. The school wants to show that education can and must change in order to prepare students for the future. It has organized team of teams for teachers to innovate around the concept of teaching where the students are regarded as active producers rather than consumers of knowledge.

 As an ‘experiment of pedagogy’, Ørestad upper secondary school learns and evolves alongside its students, staff and community. Ørestad Gymnasium is an exploration for the development of subjects and pedagogy and often applies real life cases as part of the curriculum. The school wants to give the students a natural desire to learn – not only in school, but also in all parts of their lives. Therefore they try to stimulate academic and practical curiosity through innovative learning methods and creativity. The school itself is learning all the time and develops besides developing teachers and students. Alongside learning and creativity, another core value for Ørestad Gymnasium is appreciation where everybody should feel like taking part in the learning process and communities.

Examples of changemaking:

  • Since the architecture at Ørestad Gymnasium is open – the classrooms either don’t have any walls, or have walls made of glass - students are aware of each other at all times. It gives them the feeling of being a part of one big community, where they learn to respect one another. For example, if you are being too loud, it disturbs the entire school, so the design of the building helps create an atmosphere where their behaviour reflects their mutual consideration for one another.
  • The school leadership actively empowers teachers and students to invent new ways of doing things and are willing to take risks. Sometimes the school will attend a project just to try something new. They believe that creativity is born from stretching our thoughts and stepping out of our comfort zone from time to time.
  • Student’s themselves take charge and leads various activities that are traditionally carried out by teachers, for example they have a TV-studio which every day live streams the morning meetings (compulsory at all Danish schools), where the chief editor (a student) and the team of students decides which topics to cover, who to interview and so on.

Carlogie Primary School

School type: Public Primary

Location: Carnoustie, Scotland

Age group: 3-12

Number of students: 348

Year elected: 2016

Social justice shapes Carlogie Primary School’s ethos and internal atmosphere, underpinning the way in which students, staff and the wider community interact with one another. The golden thread that has woven all of this together is the school’s identity as a Fairtrade School, where students and staff engage in learning opportunities that develop solidarity and understanding. Fairlogie Café is the school’s fairtrade café in which every student gets involved.

Changemaking Initiatives:

  • Playground Buddies - trained students in restorative conflict resolution approach;   
  • Carlogie’s Smiley Savers Bank Tellers project – a student-run credit union support;
  • The school is one of the biggest hubs for deaf students in the region, running numerous initiatives including a student deaf choir.

Torriano Primary School

School type: Public Primary

Location: Camden, London

Age group: 3-11

Number of students: 240

Year elected: 2016

Torriano Primary School sits at the heart of a diverse and multicultural neighborhood in inner city London. The children, staff, parents, and community come from a range of ethnic backgrounds and a high number of students have a statement of special educational needs. All aspects of the school and its ethos are based on the UNICEF’s ‘Convention of the Rights of the Child’ (UNCRC) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs or Global Goals). This framework provides students and staff with a ‘window on the world’ - a global focus on the broader events and changes that are shaping humankind.

Changemaking Initiatives:

  • “Who do I want to be?” is the fundamental question that communicates the school ethos,
  • Torriano is a beacon UNICEF’s Rights Respecting School and as such embeds Article 12 of the Convention in all aspects of school life,
  • The school is an Expert Centre for the new Global Learning Programme (GLP) for England.


The Studio School Liverpool

School type: Public Secondary

Location: Liverpool

Age group: 14-19

Number of students: 244

Year elected: 2016

Operating in a different way from other schools, Studio School Liverpool focuses on equipping young people with the skills, knowledge and practical experience they need to succeed both in life and work. The school specializes in media, gaming and digital marketing and delivers these through Project-Based Learning (PBL) curriculum.  The Liverpool Studio School is part of the larger Studio Schools network.

Changemaking Initiatives:

  • The school’s curriculum is based on the CREATE framework (Communication, Relating to people, Enterprise, Applied skills, Thinking skills and Emotional intelligence);
  • A personalised learning plan and a ‘personal coach’ for every student;
  • A Digital Studio Programme focused on solving industry challenges and developing digital entrepreneurial skills.


Cadoxton Primary School

School type: Public Primary

Location: Barry, South Wales

Age group: 5-11

Number of students: 380

Year elected: 2016

Cadoxton Primary School is a community school with an ambitious vision for the future of education captured in its motto – “Learning and Growing Together, Being our Best Forever”. In this school the drive for collaboration and innovation is almost infectious as students, teachers, parents and the wider community work together in powerful and exciting ways. Despite being at the heart of an area with high levels of deprivation, the school is at the forefront of integrating digital technology into education and it is a leader for the new changes in the Welsh National Curriculum.

Changemaking Initiatives:

  • The school runs the VocalEyes programme - a student-led digital forum to discuss and lead to implementation school and community improvement ideas;
  • ‘New Deal Pioneer’ initiative - training newly qualified teachers and aspiring school leaders;
  • The school leads the Studio Innov8 project – an initiative to share best practices among Welsh schools on the new national education network, Hwb.