Student review: General Sir Nick Parker on leadership

One of the key values that Bedales upholds is that of teamwork; the twin qualities of collaboration and cooperation. This means that General Sir Nick Parker’s talk, Leadership, felt particularly relevant to us. Leading conscientiously is a very important part of living in a community, just as important as kindness and tolerance.

Sir Nick had a great wealth of experience to draw on, having been in command of the entire British army in Afghanistan as well as being involved in several sensitive military. He quickly dispelled any ideas we might have had about army leaders – any misconception that they are red-faced, loud-voiced, arrogant men was shot away when we met the eloquent and intelligent Sir Nick. One of Sir Nick’s most interesting points was that being a good leader does not just involve proving your dominance and keeping everyone in line; it is also about possessing the powers of persuasion and being able to empathise with other people and understand their cause, all the while keeping your own interests at the forefront of your mind.

Sir Nick gave us several examples from his lengthy career when he has utilised different types of leadership skills, and in doing so also gave us an insight into the tensions and victories that come with being an army general. It was hugely interesting to see what goes on behind the scenes, and the levels of planning that go into the military operations that we only hear about back in Britain when they have gone ahead.

The subject matter was a good one as it will be relevant to every person who came to listen; all of the students as well as teachers and those from outside the school. As every one of us communicates with other people every day, all that Sir Nick was saying was important to each of us. After all, we all lead in some way all the time: whether that’s in the classroom, at home, in a society, or in a social group. Sir Nick was truly a very interesting and distinguished speaker, and we were glad to have him show us some of the knowledge he has accumulated over his career.

By Nell Whittaker, 6.2


Bedales School is one of the UK’s top independent private co-education boarding schools. Bedales comprises three schools situated in Steep, near Petersfield, Hampshire: Dunannie (ages 3–8), Dunhurst (ages 8–13) and Bedales itself (ages 13–18). Established in 1893 Bedales School puts emphasis on the Arts, Sciences, voluntary service, pastoral care, and listening to students’ views. Bedales is acclaimed for its drama, theatre, art and music. The Headmaster is Keith Budge.

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