As part of the Girls’ Day School Trust, Northampton High School is a proud member of the International Coalition of Girls’ Schools (ICGS). United in an evidence-based belief that girls-only education is the most beneficial approach for pupils, this membership brings schools across the globe together to share research and best practices on the education and healthy development of girls.
Keen to attend the ICGS’s annual conference and share their own expert research with colleagues globally, Northampton High representatives, Miss Hair and Mrs Hill, travelled to Cleveland, Ohio in June. Joining renowned experts from around the world, including 23 fellow GDST colleagues, the pair enjoyed three days of professional collaboration and learning.
Sharing her passion and expertise at the conference, Mrs Hill partnered with Sophie Sissons, Head of Geography at Oxford High School GDST, to co-host a session entitled ‘Action Research – Not Just For Teachers’. The pair presented on their work with students who, over an 18 month period, had conducted action research projects into aspects of their own learning. Harnessing students’ reflective spirit that had emerged from the pandemic, Mrs Hill worked with pupils on student-led investigations that would ultimately influence curriculum design and learning environments here at Northampton High.
Head of Junior School, Miss Hair, partnered with Kate Millichamp, Junior Head at Shrewsbury High School GDST, to deliver a session titled ‘Rethinking the role of play in our schools: It isn’t just for preschoolers’.
Assiduous in ensuring students’ development is healthy, wholesome and significant, Miss Hair stresses the interrelationship between safety, happiness and success, at which she claims “play, and being playful, is at the core”. The pair explored how communication, critical thinking and problem solving are advanced by frequent and meaningful playful experiences, deducing that once a child feels safe and happy in their environment, play is the key to their emotional development. Evidencing why ‘It isn’t just for preschoolers’, the Junior Heads encouraged delegates to engage in play themselves; an opportunity to acknowledge the social and wellbeing benefits that play has on everyone, irrespective of age.
Reflecting on the experience, Mrs Hill shared, “The ICGS annual conference is a wonderful opportunity for like-minded educators in girls’ schools from around the world to come together, share expertise, celebrate our work and strengthen our international connections.” Expanding on this, Miss Hair described the collaborative event as a “powerful tool to ensure we stay innovative and continually evolving to bring the best experience to our pupils”.