“I joined Sheffield High School in year 5 (Upper 2nd). I think I did feel a little apprehensive about joining a cohort with established friendship groups but as I recall, people were friendly and I think I settled in fairly quickly. Our family circumstances changed when I was doing my GCSE’s, and so I took up an assisted place in the Sixth Form, to do my A Levels. For me, having the opportunity to stay on at Sheffield was hugely beneficial. Without the assisted place, I would have had to change schools. As someone who was pretty shy and introverted, I think that the upheaval would have made it much harder to get to grips with my A Level courses. Applying for medical school, it was important to get good grades at A Level, and so being able to access a high standard of education at that point in my life played a significant part in getting to where I am now.
I have many good memories of my time at Sheffield. Academically, I particularly enjoyed our Latin lessons, especially at A Level, where there were only two of us studying the subject, and we had a frankly disproportionate amount of fun. There were also excellent extra-curricular opportunities and I had a great time playing music and sport. The GDST sports rallies were good opportunities to meet girls from other schools as well as spending time with friends and teammates travelling to and from the events. I’ve probably become more aware of the GDST as a community since leaving school, however – I enjoy reading the updates and took the opportunity to participate in the mentoring scheme a few years ago, which I found incredibly helpful. I’ve met friends and colleagues who are ex-GDST, and it certainly does inspire a sense of kinship (and often debates about who had the worst uniform!)
At Sheffield we were encouraged to strive for success and not limit ourselves; certainly there was no concept of being limited by gender. We were encouraged to work hard, and to celebrate our successes.
In an ideal world, a high-quality education would be available for everybody. Sadly, it isn’t, making access to schemes such as bursaries so important. Everybody should have the opportunity to develop to the fullest of their potential. Of course, different people will flourish in different environments, but I think that for some, being able to learn and grow in the environment provided by a GDST school can make a phenomenal difference. People should be able to access that regardless of their financial situation – I was, and I remain very grateful for it”.
Clinical Associate Professor and Honorary Consultant in Rehabilitation
Alumna, Sheffield High School for Girls
Class of 1998