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Leading girls: Creating a supportive environment where girls embrace leadership opportunities

Written by: Gemma Hargraves
9 min read
Gemma Hargraves, Assistant Head (Pastoral) at King Edward VI High School for Girls, Birmingham.  Despite the overachievement of girls in education remaining a persistent historic trend, there may be room for improvement in their willingness to embrace leadership opportunities within secondary schools. Creating the conditions for girls to thrive in education may appear simple when looking solely at examination results, but female students’ inclination to step up to leadership opportunities in secondary schools presents a different picture. This paper examines a leadership course that I designed and led for all Year 8 pupils at a selective independent girls’ school, and how it sought to break down barriers to encourage girls to embrace and create leadership opportunities inside and outside the classroom. While gender stereotypes were less of an issue due to the single-sex setting, issues of perfectionism and self-doubt and concerns about peer judgement were evident and had to be ov

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