Away from the Classroom

Life Skills

GSA schools aim to equip your child with the capacity for independent thought, resilience, creativity, integrity, compassion and confidence as well as academic qualifications.

From age 11 onwards GSA students encounter more specialist teachers than previously. Their timetable is more formal, they have more homework and also more opportunities to join clubs and after-school activities. This in itself presents considerable opportunities for gaining and practicing life skills as pupils learn how to organise themselves, their belongings and their time and find themselves having to communicate effectively with a wide range of teachers and fellow students.

Many GSA schools have a House or similar system which enables pupils to engage with students in other year groups whilst enjoying a wide variety of activities. These activities are a great way for children to learn that ‘having a go’ can be fun, regardless of ability. In addition, mixing with children of other ages develops vital skills in communication, team work and leadership. Some GSA schools also have vertical – ie mixed age – tutor groups.

FAQ: Uncovered: The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award

Music

One of the great benefits of sending your child to an independent GSA school is that music and the creative arts flourish irrespective of constraints the national curriculum may put on state schools.

Music has the capacity to give lifelong enjoyment, whether your child learns to play the piano, sing in a choir or simply listen more knowledgably. The discipline of learning to play an instrument encourages improved concentration, while playing in orchestras and singing in choirs are excellent ways to cultivate new friendships.

GSA schools provide a huge variety of opportunities to enjoy, create and excel in music, both individually and as a group experience. Some organise international music tours and exchanges while others are themselves centres of excellence for music practice.

If your child is interested in learning to play an instrument, our schools have excellent relationships with peripatetic teachers who specialise in teaching specific instruments.

FAQ: My daughter won’t practice her violin any more…

 

Sports

Sport thrives in GSA schools.

Over 80% of GSA schools have students who routinely represent their region or county in their chosen sport and a sizeable proportion of these compete at international level. Children with the talent and dedication to excel are encouraged; some schools even have special support programmes to help them manage their studies alongside their training.

We have an annual inter-schools conference – Girls Go Gold – for older children who have a particular interest in sport. In the London 2012 Olympics, former GSA students brought back a total of seven medals, two individual and five for team events.

Of course, ‘having a go’ is every bit as important as winning. Our schools encourage pupils to develop a lifelong exercise habit and, because we provide girls-only and predomoninantly girls’ environments, your daughter will experience few distractions and have little reason to feel awkward or uncomfortable during sport and PE lessons.

FAQ: Can boredom be a good thing? The pros & cons of clubs & activities…

 

Arts

The arts are a prominent feature of life in a GSA school.

Activities in, for example, art, drama, creative writing, music, photography and textiles can be found in each school. Enthusiastic teachers encourage children’s skills and their capcity for creative self expression.

The annual art exhibition is a key event in the calendar whilst drama productions are a vibrant part of school life, providing plenty of opportunity for children to develop their self confidence as well as make new friends.
A number of prominent authors and actresses began life in GSA schools. Our teachers play a vital role in fanning the initial flames of inspiration, whether through weekly activities clubs, entering national competitions, visiting art galleries, attending plays and readings, or learning from the school artist in residence.

 

In the Community

All GSA schools encourage children to contribute to their community, whether it be on a local, national or global scale. We help our students to develop a strong sense of social responsibility and to appreciate that the world contains many people who need their help.

Charity collections and ‘own clothes’ days are just the tip of the iceberg. Many GSA schools have close relationships with overseas schools or orphanages in third world countries, with opportunities for visits and hands-on participation in development programmes such as building new classrooms. Debating groups enable students to articulate a cogent argument and GSA students have been known to represent their peers in the European Parliament.

More than 9 in 10 GSA schools are involved in partnerships with state schools or the wider community. These often entail inter-school collaborations between pupils and staff. Along with guest speakers and visits to hospitals, nursing homes and other community organisations, these provide our pupils with a subtle appreciation of difference and an awareness of complex social issues.

 

Entrepreneurship

GSA schools encourage girls to take calculated risks, to think like entrepreneurs and step out into the world. In fact, there are some studies that conclude that girls who are taught in girls-only environments are more likely to take the calculated risks associated with business than those who are taught in mixed groups.

Even today, women are under-represented in UK board rooms. Formal entrepreneurial competitions, such as Young Enterprise, are common in our schools, and give pupils a taste of what it’s like to design, produce, market and profit from a product or service.

Alternative, less business-orientated activities, give our pupils experience in taking different kinds of risks. These include outward bound pursuits and formal certificated programmes such as the Duke of Edinburgh scheme.

GSA schools aim to equip girls with the life skills and self-belief to pursue their dreams and aspirations, whatever they may be.