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United Kingdom and Ireland
In some British schools, the pupil body elects a head boy and/or a head girl from the pupils/students. Head boys and head girls are usually responsible for representing the school at events, and therefore must be able to make public speeches. They also serve as a good role model for students, and share pupils' ideas with the school's leadership. They may also be expected to lead fellow prefects in their duties. Deputy head boys and girls may also be appointed, taking on the day-to-day management of the prefects in some institutions, as well as looking after the school[clarification needed] and creating a link between teachers and pupils. Some schools in the UK have abolished the titles of head boy and head girl entirely, and replaced them with a single role of "head pupil".
The process of selection of a head boy and/or a head girl varies according to school. At most, the student body of the school will have to vote for the heads. The votes would then inform the Heads of School's decisions.[dubious ] This is often preceded with an interview (and more currently an action plan for the academic year).
Other Commonwealth countries
Some schools in Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belize, Botswana, Brunei, Cameroon, Canada, Dominica, Fiji, Gambia, Ghana, Grenada, Kenya, Kiribati, Lesotho, Malawi, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Nauru, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Cyprus, Rwanda, Samoa, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Sri Lanka, St Christopher and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Swaziland, The Bahamas, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Vanuatu, Zambia and Zimbabwe follow the same system as that in the United Kingdom, having a head girl and head boy or head prefect, a vice-head girl/boy, prefects, house captains, monitors and class representatives. The head girl and boy assist the teachers and administration of the school. Nigerian and Ghanaian schools follow a similar system although some schools appoint a head prefect or senior prefect and assistant senior prefect. Another term used is "Senior Ring" (for boys) and "Senior Pin" (for girls), which is used in some schools such as Aden Bowman Collegiate in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
In Australia, the system is much the same as that of the United Kingdom. Almost all public secondary schools will have a student council with each year group having elected representatives. The head boy and head girl are generally the "chair" of this council and will represent the school on a government or community level and will represent the students at the school level.
Class president is a similar position; these are commonly found in high school and secondary schools in the United States and Canada and may or may not necessarily be gender-specific.
Notable head boys and girls
- Maisie Adam, stand-up comedian, was head girl at St Aidan's Church of England High School, Harrogate
- Joanna Page was head girl at Mynyddbach Comprehensive School, Swansea.
- Gethin Anthony, best known for portraying Renly Baratheon in HBO's Game of Thrones, was head boy at Tiffin School
- Hayley Atwell, best known for appearing as Peggy Carter in Captain America: The First Avenger, was head girl at Sion Manning Roman Catholic Girls' School
- Baron Burnett of Maldon, Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, was head boy at St John's College, Portsmouth
- Amy Childs, best known for appearing in the reality television soap opera TOWIE, was head girl at Raphael Independent School
- Matilda J. Clerk, medical pioneer in Ghana and West Africa, was Girls’ Prefect at Achimota School
- Kate Winslet, was head girl at Redroofs Theatre School in Maidenhead.
- Nicholas T. Clerk, Ghanaian academic, public administrator and Presbyterian minister, was Senior Prefect at the Presbyterian Boys' Secondary School
- Jenna Coleman, best recognized for her roles as Clara Oswald in the British television series Doctor Who and as Queen Victoria in Victoria, was head girl of Arnold School
- Jo Cox, former British MP for Batley and Spen, was head girl at Heckmondwike Grammar School
- Spencer Davis, Musician/multi-instrumentalist, founder of The Spencer Davis Group, was Head Boy at Dynevor School, Swansea, South Wales.
- David Duchovny, actor on the The X-Files, was head boy at Collegiate School (New York City).
- Kezia Dugdale, Former Leader of the Scottish Labour Party, was head girl at Harris Academy
- Christopher Eccleston, best known for his role as the Ninth Doctor in Doctor Who, was head boy of Joseph Eastham High School, Salford.
- Rebecca Hall, English actress, was head girl at Roedean School
- Jeremy Hunt, British politician and Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, was head boy of Charterhouse School
- Joe Hart, English football goalkeeper for Manchester City F.C., was head boy at Meole Brace School, Shrewsbury
- Kajol, Bollywood actress, was head girl at St Joseph Convent boarding school in Panchgani
- Richie McCaw, captain of the All Blacks, was head prefect (and proxime accessit) at Otago Boys' High School
- Susan Ofori-Atta, first woman to qualify in medicine in Ghana, was Girls’ Prefect at Achimota School
- April Pearson, actress best known for having portrayed Michelle Richardson on the E4 teen drama series, Skins, was head girl at Colston's Girls' School
- J. K. Rowling, author of Harry Potter, was head girl at Wyedean School and College
- Matt Smith, best known for his role as The Doctor in the British television series Doctor Who, was head boy at Northampton School for Boys
- Margaret Thatcher, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, was head girl of Kesteven and Grantham Girls' School
- Charles, Prince of Wales, heir apparent to the British throne, was head boy at Gordonstoun School
- Leigh-Anne Pinnock, member of Little Mix, was head girl at Sir William Ramsay School
- Claire Balding, award-winning broadcaster, was head girl at Downe House School, Newbury
- Alison McGovern, was head girl at Wirral Grammar School for Girls
- Princess Beatrice of York, ninth in line of succession to the British Throne, was head girl at St George's School, Ascot