TEDx Oxford High School GDST

Preparing girls for an ever-changing world —  Oxford High School’s first TEDx event explores ways young people need to pivot to tackle whatever life throws at them.

In spring 2024, the GDST ran its fourth TEDx event, this time hosted by Oxford High School. Titled “New Realities: The Big Questions Shaping Our Future”, the event featured internal speakers from the school community as well as external speakers leading in their fields.

From Oxford High School, talks came from head Marina Gardiner Legge, and a total of 28 students from Year 5 to Year 13. 

From outside of Oxford High, speakers included Jennie Lees, Engineering Manager at Google DeepMind and an active mentor for people from underrepresented backgrounds in gaming and tech, and Claire Davenport, Chief Executive at Treatwell, a pan-European business marketplace focused on the beauty sector. Claire is also the founder of WITSEND, a network group for women in senior executive, founder, non-executive and investor positions.

Life Beyond the Classroom

Oxford High’s head Marina Gardiner Legge, opened proceedings with an impassioned speech highlighting the very present need to prepare girls for an ever-changing world, and educators’ role in ensuring they are equipping girls with the necessary skills and attitudes to tackle whatever life throws at them.

Watch Marina’s talk ‘Empowering Young Voices For A ‘New Adulthood’’

Year 13 students, Tilly, Katharina and Alice, presented ‘Lessons from Outer Space’, focusing on lessons learned and skills gained working together on last year’s Conrad Challenge. They won the competition with their idea for the ‘Orbnet’ and even presented their idea last year  at NASA in Houston, Texas. 

Watch Katharina, Alice & Tilly’s talk ‘Lessons From Outer Space

The Year 5s and 6s held pictures of their female heroes and as future trailblazers stated how they were inspired and would apply these skills to their everyday lives (below)

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We were privileged to hear from Claire Davenport, CEO at Treatwell and Founder of WITSEND, on the importance of learning to ‘pivot’ in your career and not necessarily following the linear career paths of our parents. She echoed Marina’s thoughts on equipping yourself with the necessary skills to deal with whatever changes come your way, and spending time to find things that work to keep your mental resilience strong.

Watch Claire’s talk ‘Pivot Pivot Pivot’

The Year 5s and 6s held pictures of their female heroes and as future trailblazers stated how they were inspired and would apply these skills to their everyday lives.

The Future isn’t Artificial

Jennie Lees, Engineering Manager at Google DeepMind, provided an insightful talk about the progress made with AI and the positive strides it is making to help humans to solve a number of real, complex issues we face today such as disease, poverty and climate change. She stressed the importance of human creative input in conjunction with AI – someone needs to have the idea of what is possible in the first place for the AI to then solve the problem.

The GDST TEDx event series

TEDx Oxford High Schools GDST was the fourth TEDx event hosted and run by a GDST school and there are exciting plans to run further events in the future. Past TedX events have included such themes as ‘what humanity can bring to the greater good’ and ‘Free to be Me’ – exploring the many facets of identity, expressing one’s authentic self and ways of achieving happiness. 

Learn more about GDST TEDx events