28 November 2022
In her keynote speech Head Mistress of LEH School and GSA President Heather Hanbury gave a clarion call for the importance of girls’ only education as she addressed the assembled masses of Head Teachers from leading independent and state girls’ schools.
“It’s absolutely time to finally acknowledge that working like a woman is a great way to work and live. I’ve had enough of being told otherwise. No one should feel they have to ‘be like a man’ to succeed in life.
“We all need to unleash our feminine side – it’s proven that this is pivotal for society to become truly great. Much has been made of The Female Leadership advantage and quite rightly so.”
Her comments generated headlines across the national press, with various news stories including a front page story in The Telegraph, followed by a double page spread talking to prominent female leaders and even an opinion piece in The Times.
LEH pupils also made their mark in a feisty exchange between the Head Girl team and Conservative MP Dame Andrea Leadsom. The four Sixth Formers quizzed her about a range of topical issues, including her treatment at the hands of the media, Labour’s plans to end private schools’ charitable status, the anger felt towards the Conservatives as a result of the current cost of living crisis, and Matt Hancock’s participation in I’m A Celebrity.
“You’re throwing it at me, so I’m just throwing it back at you,” Andrea told them as she criticised young people for failing to use critical evaluation skills to look at the real situation behind the headlines. “Use your critical faculties and don’t think you can believe everything you see on Snapchat.”
LEH’s Head Girl team commented after that this incredible opportunity proved to be extremely rewarding for us as we got an insight into the life of a politician, ranging from her experience as a woman in the field to opinions on some of the imperative issues facing the UK, to some healthy political gossip. We thoroughly enjoyed the chance to utilise our public speaking skills, Olivia in particular having to answer a question from Andrea herself!
The beautiful singing of the Cantata choir moved attendees at the Conference Service at All Hallows by the Tower. Meanwhile LEH parent and journalist Matthew Syed, gave an engaging talk about the importance of a growth mindset and diversity in teams in a session called Unlocking the Potential of Today’s Young Women. Many of the delegates tweeted their appreciation of his insight and acumen as he spoke.
Our alumnae also proved inspirational with a talk called An ExtraOARdinary Adventure. Abby Johnston, Class of 2007, and Charlotte Irving, Class of 2008, had Head Teachers spellbound as they talked about teamwork and the lessons they’d learned as they battled the elements, sea sickness, salt sores and sleep deprivation to smash the world Atlantic rowing record earlier this year.
Mrs Hanbury, Matthew Syed, current pupils and alumnae – you all did LEH proud. The future really is female, fearless and bold!