Ethical Leadership Series- Inter-Community School Zurich

Posted: 27 January 2021





Participating Schools: 


A group of motivated secondary school students at ICS masterminded, designed, and delivered “The Ethical Leadership Series” as a professional development opportunity for other students.

The series is in its third year and is targeted at Middle School students. The first group of students came up with the idea in response to needs they saw in the school (behaviour). They decided that the workshops would have an ethical focus and be created to offer constructive, positive education to students. For the first two years of the programme the students delivered the workshops as part of a retreat within the school day. The third year, this year, was a challenge as the school went into lockdown and all workshops were cancelled. The student leaders responded by creating podcasts and stand-alone sessions that could be used independently, or with a facilitator. This was shared with the secondary school as part of the Personal Development Programme.


Several years ago, ICS student leadership groups were struggling with their identities. At the time we were not sure of the roles of Student Council (as it was then), House, and Round Square Action Groups. Students from the three groups signed up for a retreat led by teacher mentors and their concepts of leadership grew from those sessions.

Afterwards, the Grade 10 Round Square Group began reflecting on the ethics of leadership and how character is developed. This group decided to host a workshop for the younger students in the school and raise awareness of the ethics of leadership and importance of character development. The number of participants were small, we had to host after school, but we were encouraged as participants signed up to give the workshops the next year. This time we were able to offer the sessions during a collapsed afternoon.

For our third year, the plans came to an abrupt halt. Just as we were about to deliver our sessions, we went into Lockdown. After a planning session, we decided to offer the workshops as Podcasts with Slideshows. Ones that could be facilitated by other students/teachers or could be taken in Lockdown. We wanted to share these with other students who were also locked down at home with limited access to others.



Communication and Organisation

Safeguarding and Data Protection





When we moved to Podcasts, we had to approach curriculum leaders to see if they would launch the podcasts during their slots (this was because the school was in Lockdown).


A powerful example of student leadership and mentoring. The original aim was to identify and celebrate the difference between the leadership groups. The students then developed the series in response to issues they found in tension in the student community (language use in international schools). Each year the student leadership groups chose different workshops to host. Some were in connection with behaviours they wished to see (supportive coaching conversations), some were connected to the concept of leadership (strength-based, non-hierarchical, values-based).

Long Term Outcomes

Staff were able to see the engagement and professionalism with which the students cultivated their workshops. Students were able to learn from their peers and see role models in the older students.

The activity relies on the engagement of the student leaders. At the moment, it is a challenge to connect with students in the same way pre-Covid restrictions but it will continue.


LINK to the site:

LINK to student leaders testimonial

Author: Lydia Eckstein, RS Rep, Service Learning Coordinator, Personal Development Coordinator G11

Back to all educational insights