The GDST Difference

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A mission to help girls learn without limits

At the Girls’ Day School Trust (GDST), we are united in a mission to help girls learn without limits, so that they can lead lives without limits. We believe that the proof of a great education is what happens in a girls’ future: the professions and industries they choose, the journeys they take in their careers, the qualities they are valued for and, of course the people they become.

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What is the GDST Difference?

Our research, and analysis of the findings, set out to breakdown why GDST schools and all-girl learning environments can offer the best start in life for young women.

HOW the foundations for a bright future are built in early years education.
WHY girls only education and GDST schools lead to higher academic achievements and greater confidence throughout education and beyond.
HOW GDST sixth formers feel more prepared for the future than at non-GDST schools.
HOW GDST girls are empowered to reject gender stereotyping and excel in STEM subjects and sport.

Designing education for girls’ futures

At the GDST, academic excellence and intellectual curiosity are fundamental. We focus on helping our girls develop the skills and character to prepare them for the future, with confidence beyond the curriculum, entwined with the GDST’s golden threads that run through our curriculum, co-curriculum and pastoral care, and extend to every single thing we do.

So, what are the golden threads?

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Diversity & Inclusion

We believe it is our duty to embed diversity and inclusion at the heart of our schools and to make sure all our students feel supported. Our Undivided programme sees girls working alongside staff, management and diversity experts with the purpose of making sure that every voice is heard and equally valued at the GDST.

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The climate crisis is a very real part of our lives today and will be felt more keenly when our students reach adulthood. Our girls are dedicated to achieving a sustainable world and the GDST is committed to meeting critically important sustainability targets at every level of the organisation: from our infrastructure and purchasing decisions through to a
dynamic green thread woven through every aspect of our curriculum.

pastoral care


Without doubt, young people today feel pressures of high attainment and social belonging. Mental health and wellbeing lie at the heart of the development of every young person at a GDST school. We are constantly evolving the way we support our girls’ mental health: drawing on the most up-to-date expertise, fostered in an environment of nurture and understanding that empowers students to have confidence and pride in who they are.

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Growing up in a changing world

Alongside this, our schools prepare our students to deal with the complex pressures of modern society. From financial education to the GDST CareerStart programme and our pioneering LEAD diploma as well as bespoke programmes in each school, we work to build civil discourse skills, nurture self-identity and build practical, mental and social skills for the world of tomorrow.

Read the GDST Difference booklet

The Girls’ Futures Report

To mark the GDST’s 150th anniversary, we commissioned a landmark piece of research, the Girls’ Futures Report, surveying 1358 girls from non GDST schools (academies, state and independent schools), 374 boys and 4126  girls from schools in our GDST network. The aim was to discover what girls and young women feel about their future: their ambitions, their priorities, and the challenges they face.

The Girls’ Futures research found that girls from non-GDST schools across England and Wales experience a significant fall in confidence between the ages of 14 and 18. But GDST girls reported differently: they have a greater belief in achieving their goals and greater confidence in their schools’ ability to prepare them for the future than girls attending non-GDST schools.

Where girls learn without limits
Our Mission, Vision and Values

We have four uncompromising principles that underpin all that we do.

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