Celebrating trailblazing GDST alumnae and future changemakers

Every girl joining one of our family of schools begins a journey as a GDST girl for life. Our students begin as the future changemakers of society and graduate as part of our 100,000+ strong network of pioneering alumnae, many of whom have been the first women to achieve key milestones in their field.

We are honouring Women’s History Month throughout March by highlighting the remarkable ‘firsts’ that GDST alumnae have accomplished across a range of professions, as well as the laudable aspirations of the future changemakers being educated in our schools. Here are just some of our fearless, trailblazing students and alumnae:


Challenging Stereotypes in STEM

gdst The GDST actively encourages the challenging of stereotypes and our schools foster girls’ enthusiasm for STEM. This includes a real passion for astronomy and space science where employed female engineers are worryingly low compared to men (at Nasa, only 26% of the agency’s scientists are women). We want to change this and we are seeing promising signs at school level and within our alumnae network.

Isla and Aashka’s Astrogazers Club at Croydon High launched two weather balloons into space and they now plan to send a satellite into low earth orbit. At Norwich High, Ivy is part of their robotics team, and has attended multiple competitions around the country.

“Space is for everyone, we share the same sky. That is why I think it’s hugely important to welcome more women in the space sector. Increased diversity is great for business, but also wonderful for the scientific communities that benefit from the expertise and experiences we bring.” — Dr Sheila Kanani MBE, Wimbledon High School alumna

There are also some highly successful and prolific female astronomers, including Dr Sheila Kanani MBE the Education, Outreach and Diversity Officer at the Royal Astronomical Society as well as Susie Allen-Sierpinski, an alumna working for NASA, on a mission to put the first woman on the moon.

Breaking barriers in tech

gdst Across all age groups, our schools build girls’ enthusiasm for Computer Science. We embrace change in the wider world and continually question what it is that girls will need to succeed in the future. Our Space Technology Diploma is designed to up-skill students in Python coding so that they are well placed to consider careers in the space industry and technology.

Hannah from Putney High School is a talented computer scientist and programmer and recently scored 200/200 in the Bebras challenge putting her in the top 100 in the country and a group of Year 10s and 12s at Nottingham Girls’ High School are building a satellite from a tin can which will be launched into space this year. Also from Nottingham is Charlene Hunter MBE, an alumna and CEO and Founder of Coding Black Females, a non-profit organisation which represents the largest community of black women in tech in the UK.

Entrepreneurs: young women carving out their own paths

gdst As young women carve out their own paths to become changemakers, GDST schools make them aware of the wide range of opportunities available to help them to achieve their own definition of career success The GDST LEAD Diploma enables our Sixth Formers to learn about key elements of mentorship and entrepreneurship, whilst developing their own leadership skills.

83% of girls want a job they enjoy, while 75% want a job that pays well. 66% wish to pursue a job that makes a difference to society. — findings from The Girls’ Futures Report by The GDST

Camilla, an alumna from Croydon High School, is the founder of the charity Sal’s Shoes, which redistributes footwear to children in need worldwide. In the last decade, they have found new feet for over five million pairs of shoes in 61 countries worldwide, including increasingly here in the UK.

Inclusion at the heart of GDST schools

gdst Our schools strive to be inclusive environments in which the wellbeing of every young person comes first, and where every girl – no matter her background – can learn without limits.

Celebrating women who advocate for equity, diversity and inclusion is the theme for the National Women’s History Month in 2024. This recognises women who speak up for the need to eliminate bias and discrimination entirely from our lives and institutions to build a better world for everyone.

“For generations, young people have been at the forefront of positive change, pushing the boundaries of what is deemed possible and waiting for the world to catch up. Don’t be afraid to start now!” — Larissa Kennedy, Croydon High School alumna

Juanita is the Diversity and Inclusion Prefect at Croydon High School. She is passionate about giving younger pupils space to talk about the expression of their culture. She set up the first Afro-Caribbean Club and organised the school’s first Culture Day to celebrate our incredible diversity.

As Professor of Social Policy & Race at King’s College London, Nicola Rollock, a Streatham & Clapham High School alumna, conducted the first study of its kind in the UK on black female professors. Larissa is the first ever Afro-Caribbean woman on the Officer Executive at Warwick Students’ Union, serving as Education Officer and Deputy President in 2018-19. She was also voted Black Student of the Year 2018 by the National Union of Students.


The GDST Difference

The Girls’ Day School Trust (GDST) is the UK’s leading family of 25 girls’ schools including 23 independent schools and two academies. In March 2023, the GDST published ‘The GDST Difference’  – a booklet compiling our own research, and analysis of the findings, setting out to breakdown why GDST schools and all-girl learning environments can offer the best start in life for young women.

Discover more about the GDST Difference