New student leaders step into key roles

Ripon Grammar School has appointed new school officers to lead the student body for the next academic year. AVA EDWARDS reports on the dedicated team of 15 hardworking sixth formers 

AS a new student this year, it has been interesting to see how valued the sixth form students are within school as leaders.During the final term of Year 12, students are given the opportunity to join the school officers team. This includes:

Head boy

Head girl

As well as the following school officers:

Head of Porteus/De Grey/Hutton/School houses

Head of boys/girls’ boarding

New students




This year, three new positions have been introduced:




In general, school officers work as a team with many duties around school, such as supervising lunches and attending school events.Each officer has their own unique role with specific tasks, which assists with various aspects in the school community.They also work together to organise charity week.

Mr Fell, head of sixth form, expresses his gratitude for the work the officers do:“As a staff, we rely entirely on the good will and the support of our sixth form leaders.” He indicates the importance of the student voice, calling it ‘an opportunity for students to be heard’. Previous school officers managed to change the school uniform to gender neutral, proving their influence in school.

The application process for a school officer role is straightforward; to write 200 words explaining why yous hould have the role.

To apply for head boy or girl, you must write a300-word letter addressed to Mr Webb.For both, this application is followed by an interview process before the roles are allocated.

Tristan Paris, current publicity officer, shares his experience in becoming an officer: “Being a school officer or head boy was something I've really wanted to do since about the end of Year 7, when James Donaldson was head boy.I remember talking to him about the various privileges and responsibilities, something which I was very interested in.” Tristan was a form captain in Year 9, and enjoyed the responsibility.

So, after the application process, what comes next?Bertie Wood, current enrichment officer, explains what is expected for being an officer: “My roles include overseeing lunch duties and the prefect team, and just generally making sure that the school runs smoothly and that students are representing the school in a sensible manner. I am expected to be a good role model for all students.”

The officers hold great importance in school, and it is common for younger years to respect and look up to them.Bertie expresses how fundamental the role is to the school: “I think school officers and prefects are vital to a functioning school environment and also to the development of students who take on the roles. The responsibility, team work and communication skills picked up are very valuable as we move on to adulthood and the wider world. The extra responsibility for the students also lifts the load off staff so that their energy can be focused on providing an outstanding education rather than dealing with eager first years in the lunch queue.”

Yet what are the expectations for the head boy and head girl? Marcus Bartlem, our new head boy, says:“In my role, I primarily coordinate the school officer team alongside head girl Eloise. Eloise and I also attend the sixth form committee and the school council as well as carrying out lunch duties on specified days.I am also expected to deliver speeches at events such as the sixth form open day and to take the lead in organising charity week and several other school events through the year.”

But with such challenges due to COVID, it has been difficult to arrange the usual annual activities within school. Our new head girl Eloise Hopkins reassures the school community for the future: “Both the school as a whole and the previous school officer team did an outstanding job during the pandemic at maintaining links within RGS. Home schooling and the requirement of bubbles to ensure student and staff safety has undoubtedly had an impact on our school community, predominantly causing many of our beloved events having to be postponed. However, I hope through by re-introducing these events and organising new competitions, we can reinstill the strong sense of community we felt within the school prior to the pandemic.”

Head of publicity Tristan Paris is aspiring to further connect the school community, hoping to revive the school’s Instagram account. “One of my main focuses will be the increased use of the school's various social media outlets. As we lean more and more towards a more digital world, it is crucial that we make comprehensive plans to accommodate this. The revival of our Instagram page will be one, as well as possible brushing up of our school website.”

However, what happens to those who apply for a school officer role yet don’t get it?Automatically, the other applicants become either a school prefect or a pastoral prefect. This year, there are 51 prefects. School prefects supervise during break and lunchtimes, whilst pastoral prefects offer help and guidance to younger years during form time.

Additionally, this year for the first time sixth form sub-committees have been introduced, covering topics such as new students, welfare and enrichment.This allows for anybody in Year 13 to help with each of the roles and share ideas.

The sixth form team are very appreciative of the school officers and prefects says Mr Fell: “I feel incredibly privileged to be working with students who show such enthusiasm”.

He also wishes for students to have ‘No regrets’ when leaving the school, hoping foreach individual to aspire for excellence.

Meet our new school officers

Eloise Hopkins – Head girl

My aim is to further enhance the sense of community within school and encourage all students to seize every opportunity. My subjects are chemistry, biology and mathematics, and I aspire to study medicine at university. I am an avid member of both Biology and Healthcare Societies, which strive to enhance academic knowledge beyond the curriculum. During the pandemic, I helped brighten the day of local care home residents by writing letters and delivering artwork. I am a keen dancer and work part-time at a local doctors' surgery.

Marcus Bartlem – Head boy

As head boy my focus is on improving the welfare of all students at RGS andI hope to achieve this by giving increased attention to the opportunities available for students within school, as well as creating a greater awareness of mental health. I also aim to reintroduce and improve the several school activities and traditions which have been heavily restricted during the COVID pandemic. I am currently studying history, chemistry and economics, and I intend to take a gap year before going to university to study history. I enjoy several sports such as rugby, climbing and mountain biking.

Olivia Whild – Student Welfare

As head of student welfare, I will endeavour to create a school environment that is accepting and I want to focus on raising awareness around mental health. I want to build a team of students who will be friendly faces to talk and will help alleviate the pressure that some students feel. I study biology, chemistry and English literature for my A-levels and want to study medicine at university. I love talking to new people and enjoy taking on a new challenge.

Sam Fawcett – New Students

In my role as school officer for new students, I will be helping all students joining RGS have a smooth transition into school life and make sure their integration is the best as it can be. I will not just be focusing on brand new students joining the school, but also making sure all lower sixth students have a smooth transition into their new atmosphere. I currently study history, French, and music - playing violin and cello.

Francesca Armer - Community

With my role as community officer, I will be working to further develop the communal links between RGS and the wider community; alongside establishing more integration of the sixth form within the rest of the school. Currently, I am studying English literature, RE and psychology and enjoy my involvement in the Law Society as secretary, with hopes to study law at university.

Tristan Paris - Publicity

As the publicity officer, my aim is set firmly at updating and maintaining the RGS News, as well as freshening up our school’s various social media platforms. I will also be working alongside the other school officers to broadcast all of our policies, objectives and ideas, along with celebrating the many fantastic achievements of the students in our school! I’m currently studying economics, history RE and German.

Imogen McMurray – Student Equalities

My main aim as head of student equalities is to advocate for inclusions, access, and awareness within the school community. Focussing on raising awareness of the diversity within RGS in order to inspire a kinder and more inclusive school community. I am keen to integrate each of my objectives with the help of the equalities committee and student ambassadors throughout the year groups. I am currently studying chemistry, biology, history and art and hope to study psychology with neuroscience at university as I am passionate about helping and understanding people. In my spare time I love drawing, singing in choir, and reading murder mysteries.

Ted Dant - Environment

As head of environment, I will champion eco-friendly and sustainable projects around school and in the wider community. I am also looking forward to working alongside like-minded students and staff to reduce the school’s environmental impact even further and make the school grounds more ecologically diverse. I am studying maths, physics and chemistry and I really enjoy designing and making things in my spare time.

Bertie Wood - Enrichment

In my newly created role as head of enrichment, I would like to encourage all students, especially sixth form, to engage in many of the opportunities RGS offers as well as lead discussions on matters and issues beyond the classroom. I am currently studying maths, economics and chemistry however, out of school, I keep busy with activities such as badminton and drama as well as learning new skills like juggling, guitar and unicycling. Please feel free to come and chat to me about anything!

Daisy Hynd – De Grey House

As head of De Grey, I am aiming to make the whole school feel more excited and competitive towards house events by increasing publicity and reinvigorating the point system. During my time in the role, I want to raise house spirit and create a close-knit team within De Grey. At A-level I am studying history, art and business and enjoy being a member the Prince’s Trust society, organising frequent charity events.

Henrietta Jarvis – Porteous House

I have been actively involved in a wide variety of activities from music to swimming, cooking and house drama and believe being a member of a house provides a sense of identity, promotes integration of different age groups, and engenders the cultures of kindness, welcome and community within the school.As head of house, I will be a confident role model, lead by example and encourage participation, from all groups, and delivering the message that contribution and team effort are the most valuable attributes. My aim is to encourage students to move out of their comfort zones in an inclusive supportive environment that will enhance wellbeing, confidence and promote positive friendships as well as challenging barriers. I study biology, chemistry and maths and I aspire to a career in veterinary medicine. I am also an active member of the National Federation of Young Farmer’s Clubs and sit on the NFYFC Youth Forum.

Molly Acton – Hutton House

In my role as head of Hutton House, I aim to strengthen the house system by re-invigorating the extra and co-curricular activities post COVID. This will include striving to integrate sixth form house activities, with a keen focus on house community as well as competitions. At A-level, I am studying maths, chemistry, and biology along with an extended project qualification (EPQ), and hope to pursue medicine abroad. I enjoy being part of the school’s hockey and running teams, and participate regularly in music and drama.

Josh Simpson – School House

I am the head of School House, and my focus is to progress the house system as much as possible by continuing to improve the relations between different year groups. I also want to ensure that there are many opportunities where people can apply their skills and talents, to help their houses to gain as many points as possible throughout the next year. The plan is to do this by offering a large variety of house events and by keeping everybody up to date with all the house events so people know how to get involved. I am currently studying maths, DT and geography at A-level, and I also enjoy playing the piano outside of school.

Alice Milburn – Girls' Boarding

I am head of girls’ boarding in Johnson House and I’m aiming to improve integration between Johnson and School House, alongside making sure all students feel they have a voice. I also want to continue to instil a strong sense of pride about being a boarder into the school community. I am studying history, geography and chemistry at A-level alongside completing an EPQ and am a member of the swimming team.

Alex Gilhooley – Boys' Boarding

As head of boys' boarding, I am looking forward to realising what the boarding house can be once everything is back to normal and the activities which make boarding the environment that it is can be resumed. I aim to do this by promoting activities which focus on the reintegration of the different year groups within the boarding house, which have been separated for the last year due to the pandemic. I am taking French, maths and physics at A-level and enjoy running and swimming.