Around eighty aspiring young leaders from twelve schools across Bedford came together for the third ‘Ready2Lead?’ conference at Bedford School.

With support from The Harpur Trust, the students and their teachers worked together to create a programme that aimed to excite and inspire, as well as give students the tools and confidence to be courageous learners, find inner confidence, and give them a new vision for ways in which they can change the world around them.

The leadership programme for Lower Sixth Formers, was originally borne out of an idea from Mr Everitt, a Physics Teacher and Senior Day Housemaster here at Bedford School who collaborated with teachers from Bedford Modern School, Bedford Girls’ School, Mark Rutherford School, The Bedford Sixth Form, Biddenham International School, Kimberley College, St Thomas More School, Bedford Academy, Kempston Challenger Academy and Sharnbrook Sixth Form.

Matilda Crafter of Biddenham International School, and one of the students on the Ready2Lead planning team, told us, “I put myself forward for being on the Ready2Lead planning team because I wanted to get involved and to make a difference. After the lockdown, I decided to throw myself into everything, and felt that Ready2Lead would be the perfect catalyst for this.”

The conference kicked off with an inspirational and thought-provoking talk from keynote speaker Amani Simpson who helped students to explore their own uniqueness and to identify what they have that can power them towards an extraordinary life. Amani is now a successful filmmaker and entrepreneur, but his story to get to this point was not an easy one. After a life-changing incident (Amani was stabbed seven times aged 21), he took steps to change his life and write a new story. Living by the values, “Love, Service and Excellence”, his story both inspired and evoked passion.

Students then moved into mixed school teams to reflect and discuss what they had learned from Amani. They were encouraged to put their words into actions, by creating a project to make either a local or global difference.

Refreshments and all-important networking opportunity followed before the second keynote speaker, Zakia Moulaoui Guery, an inspirational woman who has devoted her life to giving hope to homeless people and raising awareness of social justice, took to the stage. Her talk gave students food for thought and encouraged them to think about how they could take their extraordinary selves and make a real impact on the people and places around them.

After plans were created and commitments to actions made, the conference wrapped up. However, it does not end there. Session two, will take place on 10 November entitled ‘Ready2Change the World’. Here students will be able to choose from two seminars, each giving them practical tips on how they can change the world. This will lead students to session three on 1 December where they will be able to share all they have achieved so far and look at how they will sustain their pledges.

“Our firm belief is that we need to start with self-leadership. As we begin to understand our values and live them out with courage and passion, we will make an impact that will cause others to follow our lead. In other words, the most powerful leader you can be is when you fully embrace the power of being you.”

Simon Everitt, Ready2Lead founder.


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