Bright Girls Bright Futures
Collaborating with local schools through outreach and partnerships has always been important to us and we have a long history of supporting local state schools through our Reach Out programme. Our pupils love engaging with local school children and use this opportunity to share their subject knowledge, lead academic and enrichment events, and share their experiences as a pupil of the school. In turn, children from local schools form new friendships and receive a huge boost to their learning.
Bright Girls Bright Futures, is our exciting new partnerships that will see us work closely with gifted and talented girls from Jesse Gray Primary School and Dunkirk Primary School over the course of three years, in our step towards long-term sustainable cross-sector partnerships.
Bright Girls Bright Futures
Our new partnership with Jesse Gray Primary School and Dunkirk Primary School, Bright Girls Bright Futures (BGBF), aims to inspire and empower gifted and talented girls with an interest in the STEM subjects, to learn about the different career pathways and jobs available in the STEM related industries.
The partnership is based on a mentoring scheme between Year 8 NGHS pupils and Year 4 girls in the partner schools. Over the course of three years, all participants will receive a series of challenges designed and delivered by NGHS Outreach Coordinator and teacher of Mathematics, Miss Wendy Taylor. Challenges span codebreaking, robotics, computing, technology, and design, and have been carefully put together to showcase past and present women working in these areas, including national security, fashion, coding, pharmaceuticals, and dermatology.
Wendy Taylor comments:
“Our STEM enrichment days for local primary schools have always been oversubscribed. Whilst there is always an interest and need for STEM opportunities, little attention is paid to the diverse career paths that these subjects offer, particularly the roles that women currently occupy. We are excited to develop this programme of activities so that all pupils enrolled on the programme benefit from learning about trailblazing and industry-leading women.”
Nationally and globally, women are underrepresented in undergraduate and postgraduate STEM courses, as well as careers. As an all-girls school, NGHS prides itself on no gender stereotypes with STEM subjects being very popular at all levels.
With each year, a new cohort of BGBF Mentors and Mentees will enrol on the course, a total of three years in duration. During this time, BGBF will provide gifted and talented girls with an interest in STEM, access to creative challenges and insight into unfamiliar careers that are taken up by women. Susie Bulling, Partnership Coordinator at NGHS, observes:
“When talking with our partner schools, it was clear that girls are talented in this area, but boys tend to dominate in the classroom. All schools were keen to see how female role-modelling, both with the introduction of peer-mentoring, and the case studies on professional women working in STEM, could positively influence girls’ confidence and aspirations.”
For NGHS pupils especially, this new partnership brings unique leadership opportunities. Those selected to be mentors are made up of Subject Scholars and pupils who have an appropriate skill set matched to encourage and support girls from the partner schools. Academic rigour, enthusiasm, effective communication, and the ability to make others feel at ease were all factors sought when selecting mentors for the programme. Skills to be gained from the partnership were also discussed, as Susie continues:
“We have a number of talented pupils on bursary places here at NGHS and we’re proud to be able to offer them leadership opportunities that develop confidence and self-esteem alongside an excellent academic experience. The BGBF programme is a wonderful example of this.”
Outreach and Partnerships is an important part of NGHS’s embedded whole-school culture with girls taking up roles of responsibility at multiple levels throughout the school, including the Junior School with our Tots Have Fun, Year 6 Tots Ambassadors, and Sixth Form Outreach Prefects. During the GDST’s Girls’ Futures Report (2022), girls nationally painted a picture of a life where they have control of how work intersects with home and family and where they can lead in a way that prioritises compassion and community (9), finding that 83% of girls described wanting to do a job that they enjoy, and 66% wanting a job that makes a difference to society. As experts in educating girls, this is no surprise – girls tend to work collaboratively and are supportive of one another. Recent research into female philanthropists also show that women choose to invest in causes such as gender equality and sustainability (Charities Aid Foundation, 2023) to drive change – indicating that girls and women make conscious decisions about how their actions can have positive influence and impact on others.
As part of NGHS’s philanthropy work, the school will be raising funds towards a Bright Girls Bright Futures bursary for girls enrolled on the programme. As Head at NGHS, Julie Keller, explains:
“We believe that bright girls should have access to an excellent education regardless of their sex, race, or social-economic circumstances, and we are so inspired to make this happen. The Bright Girls Bright Futures programme will not only challenge and push exceptionally bright and talented girls, but open doors to their extraordinary futures.”
Enquiries about the Bright Girls Bright Futures programme can be sent to Susie Bulling, Partnership Coordinator at Nottingham Girls’ High School (firstname.lastname@example.org).
If you would like to make a donation to the Nottingham Girls’ High School or GDST Bursary Programme to help us deliver more life changing educational experiences to girls across England and Wales, please contact Aisling Hooper, Alumnae and Fundraising Manager at Nottingham Girls’ High School (email@example.com)