The GDST is committed to improving social mobility and to helping every girl, whatever her background, to fulfil her potential and her dreams. Overall, approximately 20% of students at GDST senior schools receive a bursary or scholarship.
Central to GDST’s ethos is the importance our 23 feepaying schools attach to working in collaboration with state schools and universities to help raise standards across the wider education system, particularly in disadvantaged areas. In the past year alone, GDST schools have worked in partnership with over 430 state schools and universities on projects which have helped to raise aspirations and attainment across the sectors and to build broader skills such as confidence, problem solving, teamwork and leadership.
The case studies below show the diversity and depth of our partnership and outreach work.
Putney High School
Cool to be Curious
Our Cool to be Curious collaboration with Roehampton University follows on from Cool to be Clever, a two year project aimed at raising the aspirations of local Year 5 pupils. The project is particularly aimed at gifted and talented pupils who might be the first in their family to consider Higher Education. Putney’s Year 10 act as mentors to the younger children over the course of the project, looking at topics from Philosophy, STEM and the environment to Sports Science and Music.
South Hampstead High School
30+ children per year aged 9-10 from nine primary schools.
A number of GDST schools also support Year 6 children in local primary schools by providing Sixth Formers to help deliver SATS booster sessions.
“The primary school children have developed a much deeper understanding of mathematical problem solving; teachers have gained a better understanding of the KS2 curriculum and Sixth Form mentors have gained confidence and developed their communication skills through working with the children.
Wimbledon High School
Teach Together Programme
100+ children per year, aged 9-11, from four primary schools.
The Teach Together programme involves Wimbledon High School Sixth Formers working with children in local primary schools, on a range of subjects, with the aim of building the children’s confidence and problem solving skills and providing extension opportunities for the most able.
Benefits to all involved:
Newcastle Girls’ High School
20+ students per year, aged 17-18 from Whitburn Academy.
Over the past two years Newcastle High School for Girls staff have provided school to school support for Whitburn Church of England Academy’s new Sixth Form provision. A key aspect of this support has been in sharing expertise with Whitburn staff about the university application process and helping to raise aspirations amongst students.
Whitburn students, including those applying to Oxbridge and Russell Group Universities, were given the opportunity to experience mock interviews with experienced Newcastle Girls’ High School staff in an unfamiliar setting. Whitburn staff were provided with support and training in completing UCAS references and understanding the complex process of admissions tests.
Whitburn students, along with over 400 students from local state schools, have joined NHSG students at their NEW Leaders conference, working in partnership with Northumbria University, with the aim of raising aspirations and empowering young women through developing their leadership potential.
“All of the Whitburn students who had mock interviews with Newcastle Girls’ High School staff gained places on the preferred course at their chosen university, including Whitburn’s first ever place at Oxford University. 45% of Whitburn students gained places at Russell Group Universities; the mean figure for South Tyneside students is around 10%.” Head teacher, Whitburn Church of England Academy
Shrewsbury High School
Shropshire Biomedical Outreach Programme
100+ students per year, aged 14-18, from 20 schools.
The annual programme is now in its fifth year and aims to provide careers advice and extension opportunities for more able students seeking careers in bio-medicine from all areas of Shropshire. Admissions tutors from Keele University and advisors from Medic Mentors help to develop students’ knowledge and skills in the following areas:
The impact of the programme has been far reaching:
Sheffield High School for Girls
Cool to be Clever
70 pupils per year, aged 9-11, from 13 primary schools.
In partnership with the University of Sheffield and Sheffield South East Learning Partnership, the Cool to be Clever Club works with around 70 of the city’s brightest yet most disadvantaged Year 5 and Year 6 pupils who are mentored by students from Sheffield Girls’. Now in its fifth year, the scheme brings together children who share the same academic and personal potential to move onto higher education and fosters key skills such as independent learning, self-reflection, teamwork, confidence and resilience. Sessions are held at the university and at Sheffield Girls’, covering topics such as engineering, law, journalism, debating and critical thinking. Parents are encouraged to be involved in their children’s learning through a parent portal and newsletter and a special graduation ceremony held at the university.
This project was singled out by the Department for Education in its “Schools that work for everyone” report in May 2018 as an example of best practice in cross sector working, raising attainment for those from disadvantaged and under-represented groups. A similar project – Cool to be Curious – is led by Putney High School in partnership with Roehampton University and 12 local primary schools.
“It truly is great to see how the confidence of our children has grown through this programme.” Teacher, Emmaus Primary School
“This project excites children about learning… The partnership has widened horizons for Sheffield’s children and their families and is making a real contribution to equalising the life chances of these pupils.” Marie Lowe, Strategic Lead for Policy and Strategy, Sheffield City Council
Croydon High School
12 girls, aged 9-10, from five primary schools. Sometimes the only thing holding girls back is a lack of confidence in themselves, in their abilities or in the importance of their ideas. The Confidence Club is a four-week programme which focuses on building confidence in girls through drama, art, English and history.
The sessions focus on:
“Confidence Club at Croydon High has been an invaluable experience for my daughter and I have loved hearing about what she has learnt and how much fun she has had each week. The club has really helped empower her and her confidence had grown immensely.” Parent
Norwich High School
Over 300 students, aged 12-17, from six schools.
The Inspiring Females (IF) programme was launched in 2016 with the mission to prepare young women for their futures, creating platforms to explore their questions and represent their voices. The goal is to offer girls from state and independent schools the opportunity to interact with inspiring women from all walks of life in a myriad of different ways, recognising that every girl is individual and will be inspired by different women, at different times. Inspiring Females reaches out to all young women in the city, regardless of their social, economic or educational background.
Over 80 women have been part of Inspiring Females over the last academic year, representing a diverse range of professions including acting, law, charities, finance, media, diplomacy, engineering and sport, sharing their stories with students from independent and state schools throughout the Norwich area. The IF summit in 2017 brought together over 300 students aged 12-17 from six schools, who took part in workshops and Q & A panels. They explored themes such as building confidence and resilience, and how to face the challenges of being a young female leader.