Northampton High welcomes girls-only education experts to explore landmark research

Dr Lee and Dr Stannard investigate the differences that a girls-first ecosystem can make to girls’ confidence, careers, and skills

As pioneers in girls’ education, Northampton High School GDST welcomed guests into school last week to discover how a girls-only approach can transform their daughter’s lives. Leading the conversation, Dr May Lee, Head of Northampton High, and Dr Kevin Stannard, the GDST’s Director of Innovation & Learning, shared their expert knowledge on the topic, disproving myths and misapprehensions that surround single-sex education, and explaining why Northampton High School is ‘made for girls’. As specialists in education, the pair whole-heartedly believe that a girls-first philosophy in schools is the most beneficial approach for their learning, development and wellbeing, and were delighted to evidence their views to a guest audience.

Taking place on Wednesday 7 June, Northampton High welcomed guests to the event, with individuals from both inside and outside of the school community eager to learn more. Commencing the evening with a drinks reception, those in attendance were able to enjoy refreshments whilst speaking with like-minded parents about girls’ education, ahead of the main discussion.

Hosted in our state-of-the-art theatre, guests joined Dr Lee and Dr Stannard for a discussion on their field of expertise. Referencing themes of the landmark national research, The Girls’ Futures Report, the specialist speakers explained the benefits of all-girls schools to their engaged audience. Exploring trends in data, the pair drew evidence from the national survey conducted by the GDST, which was completed by 1358 girls aged 9-18 from across England and Wales. The overarching findings that the research concluded was that pupils who attend all-girls schools, and particularly GDST schools, are comparatively more confident about their future and feel more prepared to lead lives without limits than girls from co-educational schools.

Northampton High School has been a leader in girls’ education since its opening 145 years ago. Welcoming girls and young women aged 2-18, we offer a broad and balanced curriculum which is adapted and refined according to our pupil’s learning needs. With the qualitative research in The Girls’ Futures Report reflecting the student voice at all stages of an educational journey, the data highlights the lived and experienced benefits of a girls-only tuition throughout Junior School, Senior School and Sixth Form.

Speaking on the impact of the wider world on girls education, Dr Kevin Stannard emphasises the importance of designing a system that supports young women and ensures equality of opportunity. In GDST’s report, he states, “‘Girls’ lived experiences are different from boys’. As girls develop into women, they face discrete societal expectations and life choices that will inevitably have an impact on the paths they take. This is a fact, borne out by the voices in this survey, and it needs to be explicitly implemented and reflected in certain areas of girls’ education and learning design.” Dr Lee, in support of her fellow speaker, elaborated on her school’s bespoke and pioneering approach which, by design, prepares young women to strive for gender equality.

Opening the discussion to their audience, the expert speakers invited guests to share their views on the subject in a conversational question and answer format. Delving deeper into the differences in girls’ ambitions, careers and skills in the latter part of the evening, the session provoked interesting discussions, with guests developing a further understanding and belief in a girls-first ecosystem.

Accompanied by Dr Lee and Dr Stannard, members of the audience enjoyed final refreshments whilst reflecting on the insightful event. In a school that is made for girls, Northampton High School emphasises the importance of a tailored education for girls and consistently seeks to engage individuals in this vital topic.


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