The annual conference of the Girls’ Schools Association in London was attended by Martha Perry, NCGS Board Chair and Principal of St. Clement’s School, and Megan Murphy, NCGS Executive Director. They networked with the Coalition’s brilliant British colleagues and heard from exceptionally inspiring speakers such as Lord Agnew, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the School System; Sonia Blandford, CEO of Achievement for All Education; and Dany Cotton, the first woman Commissioner of the London Fire Brigade, among several others.
Following the conference, Martha and Megan met with Edwina Dunn, Founder of The Female Lead, a non-profit organization dedicated to highlighting the breadth of female achievement across the world today in order to offer girls inspiring role models and practical guidance around life and career. All NCGS member schools in the US will be receiving in December a free copy of The Female Lead book, which features personal interviews with icons including several girls’ school alumnae such as Ava DuVernay, Christine Lagarde, and Sally L. Krawcheck. Throughout the UK and US, 18,000 copies of the book are being donated to schools accompanied by downloadable teaching materials to help guide and inform class discussions around the subject of female role models and ambition.
The trip concluded with a visit to the dynamic new NCGS member school, The Frances Bardsley Academy for Girls where the school’s motto taken from The Canterbury Tales –”Gladly Lerne Gladly Teche” – aims to instill a remarkable love of learning among its students. The students at Frances Bardsley in Romford, UK, tend to their own school farm [photo above], which includes a selection of animals including ducks, chickens, and goats. “The area is a haven away from the classroom during lunchtime and breaks where students can come to tackle new challenges,” explained Headteacher Julian Dutnall. “It’s an inclusive space that helps students to raise self-esteem and gives them a sense of belonging.” Girls are involved in all aspects of running the farm from feeding the animals to cleaning out pens and growing vegetables.