It’s an exciting time for girls to grow up ready to take on tomorrow’s challenges. Yet the adversity women experience through the entitlement gap in the workplace emphasises the importance of preparing girls for their futures from the beginning of their schooling.
Cultivating the skills needed for girls’ futures can seem like a daunting pursuit, but when parents work together with their chosen school to develop their daughter’s potential, the extraordinary can happen.
Heidi-Jayne Boyes, head of Wakefield Girls’ High School, shares the key factors to consider in ensuring girls get the most out of their education, and how an all-girls education plants the seeds for success in their careers and future life.
1. Empowerment and leadership skills
To know your potential is to know your value – it’s vital we equip girls with the confidence to achieve their best, encouraging them to speak and lead with authority. Empowerment is the foundation for success here at Wakefield Girls’ High School – our philosophy is to guide and facilitate, rather than to instruct.
We offer various leadership roles and opportunities to transition our students into 21st century women, who aspire to drive change in the workplace and the wider community. The school has its own form representatives, student council (with pupils from every year group), deputy and head girl for the junior and high school, senior prefects, buddy systems and peer mentoring for the younger years.
Being educated in an all-girls environment introduces an element of healthy competition, encouraging our students to champion themselves and flourish without the pressure of male comparison – we allow our girls to try new experiences within a safe space.
2. A comprehensive education
While academic excellence is undoubtedly important, education is not solely founded upon academia. Girls are multi-faceted with diverse talents and abilities, which we reflect through a holistic approach to their schooling.
Having opportunities to develop is key. For this reason we specifically have a curriculum called Edge, which is an extended timetable offering girls over 90 different options to embrace new experiences and activities within term time. Extra-curricular endeavours are engrained into our schooling programme as they underpin the academic achievements of our students.
3. Perseverance and determination
Every student is on their own journey and a good school will guide them through it, providing them with the knowledge and understanding to overcome challenges they may encounter. At Wakefield Girls’ we understand that how girls learn is as important as what they learn. We tailor everything to suit the learning styles and needs of all girls and teach each individually so she leaves educated in the broadest sense: high achieving and ready for life with the skills and confidence to be successful.
We organise webinars and Instagram lives with school alumni, which focus on inspiring students to transform deliberation and anxiety into moments of self-advocation and confidence. We educate our students on how to confront imposter syndrome, and navigate their way through a male-dominated environment to achieve success.
4. Empathy and self-reflection
Having a sense of community and camaraderie creates a positive impact upon a girls’ academic experience and their ability to learn. When a child is happy, it gives them the best chance at achieving and getting the most out of their education.
Understanding and listening are important lessons throughout the school, encouraging students to care about themselves and their peers.
Self-reflection is also key for success – we teach our students that to fail, is to learn. Learning from mistakes is a crucial part of a child’s journey as they continue to improve and develop, becoming the best version of themselves.