New DfE Performance Tables show State Girls’ Schools Enable High-Achieving Girls
The KS4 performance tables published recently by the Department for Education support Ofsted Chief Amanda Spielman’s view that single-sex girls’ schools help girls’ overcome discrimination in an unequal Britain.
There are 211 state-funded girls’ schools and ,remarkably, over half of them (116) achieved Progress 8 scores well above the national average. In total 384 schools of all types nationally achieved this. Over three quarters (163) of our state girls’ schools achieved Progress 8 above the national average.
These girls’ schools are found in all areas of the country: some are inner-city, some rural, some are selective, most comprehensive, some represent a particular faith group, others are fiercely non- denominational. Often these schools have a proud pioneering history in promoting gender equality and have played a key role in transforming opportunities for women over the 20th and 21st centuries. Most importantly, they all have a modern outlook and tireless commitment to supporting their students in taking up their full place in the world as leaders, movers and shakers.
Many of these schools are members of The Association of State Girls’ Schools (ASGS) which is a leading advocate for girls’ education with a distinct commitment to the transformative power of all- girls’ schools. Jane Burton is Chief Executive of Nonsuch and Wallington Education Trust (NWET) and Joint President of ASGS. Both NWET schools achieved a Progress 8 score greater than 1.0 and were in the top 30 schools nationally. Jane said, “ We are delighted to recognize how strongly performing ASGS schools are in terms of student progress. Congratulations to staff and students on their terrific successes. As an organisation we will continue to design professional learning and research which enables our teachers and school leaders to create schools where girls thrive and all our learners are stretched and challenged to achieve. “
According to Sharon Cromie, Executive Headteacher of Wycombe High School, what makes girls’ schools positive environments for young women is not simply a focus on academic work but on personal development and leadership skills. This year’s annual ASGS headteachers’ conference ‘Leading Girls for Change’ was opened by students from Wycombe High and Frances Bardsley Academy reflecting thoughtfully on their development as young leaders – and on the challenges ahead. As Lois Brown, Head Girl of Wycombe High reminded delegates: “Women now account for 60% of university graduates but only comprise 3% of leaders worldwide.” Sharon Cromie emphasized the under-representation of girls in STEM( science, technology, engineering and maths) disciplines and highlighted this area as a future focus for ASGS organization.” The political and economic focus is increasingly on technology and STEM subject; subjects in which boys outperform girls, “ said Mrs. Cromie, “ Girls’ schools need to collaborate, speak up and ensure that the needs of girls are properly represented. In this way we can ensure the pace of change for girls’ education, and future prospects, continues.”