This week, the GDST and many schools across the country have been taking part in Partnerships Week 2023, the fifth annual celebration of cross-sector partnership working between state and independent schools.
In honour of this week, I would like to share some examples of how GDST schools are working with their partners to achieve a joint goal of positive outcomes across each collaboration. I hope these richly diverse projects and connections will help showcase the range of opportunities that benefit a great deal of children and young people, as well as teachers and schools on the whole.
Naturally, our approach to partnerships reflects our organisation and the views of the girls and young women we educate. Our recent Girls’ Futures research has shown that GDST girls value community, collaboration, and working towards a future of balance and equity. As well as aligning with our values, our partnerships are developed in collaboration with local communities to address specific local issues. Driving forward progressive partnerships that aim to reach as many girls across the country as possible is at the centre of many of our partnerships, so that girls enter the adult world with the confidence to fulfil their ambitions.
Shrewsbury High School’s ‘Women Mean Business’ Career Series’, which as the name suggests, gives young women access to aspirational female role models from the extremely varied world of business through online and in-person panel careers events. Newcastle High School for Girls’ ‘Science is My Superpower’ scheme provides awe and wonder workshops for girls in local primary schools to build the most aerodynamic car possible and participate in other inspiring action-packed science projects spring to mind. Nottingham Girls’ High School’s ‘Bright Girls Bright Futures’ focuses on facilitating social connections and collaboration between girls and young women within the city as they learn about trailblazing women throughout history, coming together to complete challenges that have rippled into Ambassador and interschool mentoring at all partner schools involved. These are only a few examples of sustainable GDST partnerships that are focused on empowering and inspiring girls and young women in the local community.
As we work towards building a global movement in girls’ education, our partnerships are also crossing borders and impacting girls’ lives internationally. We have several international partnerships such as South Hampstead High School’s cultural exchange programme with women from South Kolkata, India, and Putney and Sheffield Girls’ School work with Pardada Pardadi Educational Society in Uttar Pradesh, India, where girls peer-mentor and share their experiences across IT, STEM and Sport. I am confident that more of these relationships will be formed, and they will undoubtedly flourish into the future.
Although the core purpose of many of our partnership projects is to reach as many girls as possible, we also strongly advocate for inclusive collaborations that benefit all. This means that an impressive number of our partnerships honour long-established links with the local community, which includes opening up relevant opportunities for all young people, including boys. For example, joint-teacher programmes between South Hampstead High School GDST and UCL Academy, Norwich High School’s long-standing partnership with Parkside School, and Bromley High School’s established partnership with Marjorie McClure School – all of these connections mean that girls at GDST schools and pupils at partner schools benefit through a shared pooling of resources and opportunities.
I strongly believe that partnerships deserve so much more credit for the instrumental role they play in widening our students’ educational experiences and providing enrichment beyond the classroom. They provide practical, real-life opportunities for our girls and young women to make genuine connections, develop their social understanding and build their confidence to make them better equipped for their future lives and ambitions.
So, as we proudly celebrate the unifying power of partnerships with heartwarming stories from our schools, the GDST will also remain resolutely focused on using it to change the world for the better, every week of every year. We know that this work makes a lasting impact, and that is why it is embedded into the culture of all of our 25 schools. Long may this continue.
Partnerships at GDST
The GDST understands the power of partnership and the benefits it can bring, not just to our girls but to our staff, parents, alumnae and the wider community. At the GDST, we highly value collaborative work with schools across our network and we are involved in a range of formal and informal partnerships with all types of schools and charities.