The Bridging the Gap programme held in the last two weeks of term for our current Upper Fifth offered an intriguing mix of events and learning for the pupils. As well as being introduced to the A Levels they had chosen in their lessons, they enjoyed a range of extra-curricular activities from Monday Night Football Competitions to Mixed Touch Rugby to a fabulous musical recital performed by the greatly talented Reuben A (Upper Sixth).

However, as part of the two-week programme they were also introduced to wider Sixth Form life by Senior Tutor Nick Drake and an idea of leadership promoted at Cranleigh; how pupils can effect positive change to Cranleigh by serving others and contributing vitally to their education.

This idea was then in subsequent afternoons and evenings perfectly exemplified in four talks given to the Upper Fifth year group by four Lower Sixth Form pupils.

Firstly, on the academic front, Naalini B (Rhodes) and Archie P (East) gave their thoughts and advice to the Upper Fifth on how to better use their iPads for their work in Sixth Form life. The talk clearly laid out how, with more effective digital organisation, the incoming Lower Sixth’s workload can be managed and completed skilfully and with greater success.

For a generation that love their “life hacks”, it was clear that it was gratefully received.

Secondly, addressing a more social and pastoral topic, Lucy W (Rhodes) and Oban B (East) presented a powerful talk on Body Image; explaining how Generation Z’s obsession with social media and the “perfect” body image is creating a toxic atmosphere for healthy mental and physical wellbeing. With insights on the fake photos posted on accounts and heart-breaking testimonies of teenagers who have fallen foul of body dysmorphia, the talk struck a powerful chord, as it looked to address an increasingly prevalent teenage problem.

Such commendable leadership and willingness to shape the Cranleigh community for the better is not only heart-warming to see and hear from Lower Sixth formers, but offers a strong signal that next year’s Cranleigh Upper Sixth will continue to be the change we hope to see in wider society.

To learn more about Cranleigh’s #BetheChange campaign please see here.