Canford’s collaboration with Ivy House

What do you want your life to look like in five years? Have you decided who you want to be, not just what you want to do? Do you know what you’re really good at? Do you know how to turn it into a career? Do you know how to build a network? Do you want to become the leader of your own life?

These are just some of the questions posed to pupils who take part in the unique Ivy House Award programme.  For 20 years Elke Edwards, Founder of Ivy House, ran one of the leading executive development businesses in Europe. She and her team worked with senior leaders at over 40% of the FTSE 100, developing extensive knowledge about how to become an extraordinary leader and lead an extraordinary life.  She has now brought her expertise to the education sector, to give “promising young people the kind of life-changing learning that is normally only available to a handful of senior executives – at a time when it really can make all the difference.”

Canford is one of a small number of schools which is involved in the first year of The Award.    The course is run weekly, and is based on 3 key principles – self-knowledge, self-empowerment and self-leadership – designated as the hallmarks of an extraordinary life and what pupils taking The Award aim to develop.  The first 10 sessions focus on ‘The Storyboard’ with pupils thinking about their own unique story and creating their own personal brand, with the second 10 sessions then moving on to ‘The Game Plan’, which involves ways to make a positive impact, build relationships and understand your own leadership potential.

The entire Lower Sixth year group of 140 pupils are involved in the 2019/20 academic year.  They meet in groups each Friday afternoon for 45 minutes, guided by one of 14 Canford staff facilitators.  On completion of the award pupils will receive a certificate and a digital badge which they will be able to add to their CVs and LinkedIn profiles.

Headmaster Ben Vessey who has worked in close collaboration with the team at Ivy House to develop the programme, commented:

“In the 21st century the world of work is ever changing, as are the pressures on our personal lives and it is vital that we equip our pupils with the skills and confidence to give them the best possible chance of making the right choices so they can find success and fulfilment in whatever fields they choose.   They are highly likely to have more than one career, and will need to respond and adapt which requires motivation, a belief in one’s own abilities and a recognition of one’s strengths.   The Ivy House Award is a fantastic opportunity to work with specialists with a wealth of experience in leadership and I am delighted that we are able to include it within our Sixth Form programme this year.   The facilitators at Canford and the Ivy House team are all looking forward to seeing how the sessions develop over the coming weeks.”

For more information about the Ivy House Award, please visit