GDST public benefit: reaching as many girls as possible | Girls' Day School Trust

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GDST public benefit: reaching as many girls as possible

We are determined to share our expertise in girls’ education and the resources we create as widely as possible beyond our own schools and academies, for the benefit of all girls.

In recent years, our MOOC (massive open online course) on girls’ education has reached nearly 14,000 individuals worldwide. Similarly, our Live My Digital e-safety videos for students and parents, which we launched in 2016 in partnership with Digital Awareness UK, have been viewed nearly 112,000 times.

Bursaries and scholarships

Offering bursaries to girls for whom a GDST education is a life-changing opportunity is a central part of our aim to reach as many girls as possible. 

We want pupils on full bursaries to participate fully in all their schools offer, so we help their families to meet the cost of extra-curricular activities, uniforms, travel to and from school, music lessons, equipment, and school trips. There is also funding available to families in unforeseen and short-term financial difficulties. 

We are very grateful to HSBC, Garfield Weston Foundation, John Lyon’s Charity, Leverhulme Education Trust, and the Catherine Cookson Charitable Trust for their ongoing generous support of bursaries. 

Scholarships are awarded locally by schools to reflect academic, musical, sporting or artistic distinction. The value of a scholarship can be up to 50% of fees, and may also be supplemented by a bursary.

  • Over £12m was allocated to bursaries in 2016-17, representing over 5% of our fee income. This funding meant that nearly 1,100 pupils, whose families were not able to pay the full fees, benefited from a GDST education. 
  • In 2016-17, nearly 1,000 girls received funding equivalent to 50% or more of fees, of whom over 400 received funding equivalent to 100% of fees.
  • Nearly 26% of girls in our fee-paying senior schools and Sixth Forms receive financial assistance in the form of a bursary or scholarship (or both).


Every one of our schools and academies engages with its local community and neighbouring schools through a range of activities, events and partnerships, and all our schools’ partnership activities with local schools deliver real impact in terms of raising pupil aspirations and attainment. 

Funding is made available to our schools and academies through the generosity of HSBC via their funding for maintained school partnership and collaboration initiatives. Three schools are also involved in projects with local schools funded by the SHINE Trust. Nottingham Girls' High School, Sheffield High School and the Royal High School Bath all have dedicated staff coordinating outreach work across a wide range of curricular and co-curricular activities.

Examples of GDST school partnerships include:

  • Shrewsbury High School was nominated for the Community Award at this year’s Education Business Awards, which recognises schools working in partnership with other public sector bodies on projects that bring benefits to the local community. The school’s Young Oxbridge Conference welcomes talented students from local schools all over Shropshire to learn about improving their chances of getting into Oxford or Cambridge. Admissions tutors and graduates from the two universities address students. 
  • Reach Out is a community initiative by Nottingham Girls’ High School. Over the last five years, it has delivered over 50 exciting and innovative projects from primary core subjects, the arts, computing, STEM, learning support initiatives and outdoor learning. In 2016-17, over 1,000 pupils from 53 schools across Nottinghamshire took part in Reach Out events. The school also makes its Reach Out resources available online free of charge. 
  • At Blackheath High School, Year 4 girls took part in a Cantata, written by composer Lin Marsh and performed with Invicta Primary School at St Alfeges Church, Greenwich; Digital Leaders teach Silver Surfers how to use social media; local primary schools join the school for a spectacular day celebrating European Day of Languages; and they offer GCSE Greek and Astronomy to Year 11 students at local secondary schools.
  • At Norwich High School for Girls’ three-day Inspiring Females (IF) Summits, 40 inspirational women volunteered their time to mentor, inspire and deliver unique workshops for over 300 young women aged between 12-17 from six schools across Norwich and further afield.
  • GDST staff are encouraged to share their expertise by serving as governors of state schools or trustees of educational charities.

For more information on individual GDST school initiatives, please visit the Schools Together website.

GDST Academies

The two academies in the GDST network – The Belvedere Academy in Liverpool and Birkenhead High School Academy – offer a first-rate GDST education free of charge to over 2,000 girls.

Academy staff have access to GDST training and development, and the girls benefit from the same opportunities to participate in GDST-wide events and competitions, including sports rallies, the Oxbridge conference, and the Young Leaders’ Conference.

All former Academy students automatically become life-long members of the GDST Alumnae Network, with all the advantages that brings.