General Election 2017 - Follow the Leader
Considers the qualities of a leader in the light of the general election
by Alan M Barker
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To consider what it means to be a leader in the light of the general election.
Preparation and materials
Have available an image of Theresa May and the means to display it during the assembly. An example is available at: https://tinyurl.com/kknorjq
You may also wish to show images of leaders from different political parties or local candidates.
You will also need a way to record answers that are given in the ‘Assembly’, Step 4, such as a whiteboard and a pen.
Note: political terms are in bold in the ‘Assembly’, and may need some explanation.
- Explain that you are going to play a game of follow-the-leader. Invite everyone to watch and follow the leader’s actions.
- Ask the children to think of times when they have needed a leader or have been a leader themselves. Observe that leadership is important in school and a nation needs leaders, too.
- Show the image of Theresa May.
Explain that, at present, Theresa May is the prime minister. However, this could change after the general election on 8 June.
You may wish to show pictures of other political leaders who are standing for election in the forthcoming election. Explain how different political parties (groups of people who share similar aims and ideas) each have a different name and campaign colours. Each has a leader, one of whom will become prime minister. During an election, they ask for support and say, ‘Follow me!’
Briefly allow the children to share their awareness of other political parties and their leaders.
- Invite the children to reflect upon their own experiences of leadership.
Ask the children, ‘What makes a good leader?’
Listen to a range of responses and record the answers given.
The following points may emerge from discussion or can be introduced in turn. You may wish to record the words in capital letters.
- A good leader is someone who CARES and wants to HELP others, not just themselves.
Ask the children, ‘How can we build caring and safe communities?’ The children will have many different ideas, as do the people standing for election as Members of Parliament, or MPs.
- A leader has clear AIMS and IDEAS. In an election, these are agreed with others and written down in a manifesto.
- In the run-up to polling day (when people cast their vote), leaders will often be seen and heard in the news. They will make speeches and take part in television and radio interviews, trying to persuade others to vote for their party. A leader must COMMUNICATE well and get their message across.
- During the election campaign, political leaders will also visit many different places to encourage their supporters. A leader ENCOURAGES others.
- A leader knows the importance of TEAMWORK. A leader doesn’t work alone, but together with others. Lots of helpers and supporters play an important part in an election.
- A leader is a person who can make GOOD DECISIONS. This means that they must be thoughtful and ready to listen to advice.
- Go back through the list of words in capital letters. A leader cares, helps, has clear aims and ideas, communicates well, encourages others, works as a team with others and makes good decisions.
- Point out that often, the decisions that leaders must make are hard. They must carry heavy responsibilities and sometimes, their decisions are unpopular. Therefore, they must be able to PERSEVERE. During the election campaign, party leaders will work very long hours and travel many miles. They will surely be very tired by 8 June.
Time for reflection
Invite the children to reflect upon their experiences of both following a leader and being a leader.
Point out that perhaps some of the children present will aim to be future political leaders.
Introduce the following thought that has been attributed to Mahatma Gandhi: ‘Be the change that you wish to see in the world.’
Please help us to see that we all have a responsibility to make the world a better place.
Please help everyone to work towards a peaceful world.
‘The prayer of St Francis (Make me a channel of your peace)’ (Come and Praise, 147)