To mark the 150th anniversary of the Girls’ Day School Trust, the GDST has become founding members of the International Coalition of Girls’ Schools (ICGS). The ICGS’ Global Forum on Girls’ Education, held in Boston, Massachusetts, brought together advocates for girls’ education from more than 225 girls’ schools in 13 countries across the world, to hear from inspirational speakers and educators, amongst them 17 GDST research fellows from the Global Action Research Collaborative, of whom two, Carla Tonks and Jo Orgill are teachers at Shrewsbury High School.
They joined Shrewsbury High School Headteacher Jo Sharrock who was in Boston to present on the benefits of an all-through, all-girl education, speaking on how such schools are leading the way in the happy, healthy development of girls, and highlighting the huge benefits of educating a girl from early years to graduation. “It means a great deal to be here representing Shrewsbury High School, as we are a small school in a small town but we always say we offer access to a world beyond Town Walls – so to be here in Boston is incredibly exciting – to be representing my students on a global stage feels like living that promise”.
“It was a privilege to be invited to present on our all-girl all-through model and how we have unlocked the power of that model to build happy, healthy and confident girls. I was incredibly proud to share our experiences and achievements with a global audience and to begin building international networks from which our students and staff can benefit. I was also immensely proud of our two research fellows, Madame Orgill and Mrs Tonks. As part of the GDST we have a strong research tradition – indeed we pride ourselves on using the latest academic research cutting edge pedagogy in our approach to teaching and learning. It was marvellous to see two of our brilliant staff, two of only 20 teachers selected from the UK to take part in the global action research collective, represent the school and present their projects. We are looking forward to sharing their research with our colleagues in September and then using it in our classrooms to better meet the needs of our pupils.
The work of our research fellows and the relationships we are developing with girls’ schools across the world have shown us that the opportunities and challenges for girls across the globe are remarkably similar, and by coming together and sharing our expertise we can find global solutions and innovations to better support our girls at home. We can also live up to our GDST value of reaching as many girls as possible by sharing our expertise on a global stage.
We are contributing to, and gaining from, the global conversation on progressive 21st century girls’ education – focusing on the latest research, sharing best practice on what girls need and showcasing our school. We have an opportunity to share our expertise and excellence with a global audience.
This will create opportunities for meaningful international partnerships with sister schools across the globe which potential benefits for our students, staff and parents. For example, we are developing a relationship with the Baldwin School in Philadelphia. Last year their Principal and published author, Marisa Porges, lent her expert voice on What Girls Need to our highly successful parent talks during the pandemic, and this year we hope to link up our senior students to work on collaborative projects.
Our staff will benefit from being involved at the forefront of girls’ education, the latest academic research and cutting-edge pedagogy. The research and lessons from the conference will complement and inform our own practice going forward and help us to review the SHS approach to teaching and learning. Our pupils will be taught by expert teachers whose own practice is constantly refreshed and who employ techniques rooted in current understanding ensuring we meet the needs of our girls in a rapidly changing world”.