The Girls’ Day School Trust (GDST) is a network of 25 independent girls’ schools, including two academies. All its schools focus not only on academic excellence, but developing character outside of the curriculum. GDST schools are purposefully designed with girls in mind, operating under a belief that girls learn better in environments tailored to their needs.
Seven Hills was asked by GDST to help develop its public proposition and identify new platforms and partnershipss that demonstrate the power of girls-only education and position the GDST’s network as schools where girls learn without limits.
To mark the GDST’s 150th anniversary, it commissioned a landmark survey of 5,000 girls in state and independent schools and academies across the UK. The aim was to understand what matters most to girls today and how they feel about what lies ahead in their futures.
The research was carried out by YouthSight-Savanta and found that girls nationally lack confidence in comparison to GDST girls and a sample of boys at key age points, particularly through their teenage years. This impacts the level to which girls feel prepared to enter the real world on leaving school.
It also found that girls aspire to attain purpose in their lives and careers. It was reflected that they do not aspire to traditional, male defined leadership models and are slowly but surely carving out new roles and ideals of leadership that align more strongly to their values.
Seven Hills interviewed students and alumnae from both GDST and non-GDST schools, as well as external experts and commentators about the findings, leading the copywriting and a design of a report that distilled the key insights from both the quantitative and qualitative research, and positioned the GDST as a thought leader in girls’ education, beyond its own schools.
Seven Hills also worked with the GDST media team on the distribution and promotion of the report to key media titles, securing coverage with outlets including The Sunday Times, The Times, BBC Radio 4, The Sun, Grazia and Stylist.
The resulting Girls’ Futures report, published in Autumn 2022 was followed in early 2023 by a new booklet, focused specifically on the results of GDST students in the research and to what extent it demonstrates the difference GDST schools make. Seven Hills led the copywriting and design of the booklet ahead of its launch at WOW Women of the World Festival in March 2023.
GDST’s aim is to understand what matters most to girls today and how they feel about what lies ahead in their futures.
Seven Hills identified the potential for GDST to stage a series of local TEDx events at its schools across the country, to platform its students, teachers and the communities it works in and how they are driving change in society.
In collaboration with Sutton High School and GDST, Seven Hills managed all content planning, event design and speaker liaison to create an initial event that aligned with TEDx’s ambition of to inspire and provoke conversations that matter.
TEDxSuttonHighschoolGDST explored how girls can be encouraged to separate their own identities from the collective, how they can better prepare students to thrive as their true selves, and how to foster and encourage individual self-expression in the next generation.
Speakers included 11 students from the school, as well as Yvonne Telford, CEO and Founder of Kemi Telford; members of The Halo Collective; Head of Sutton High School, Bethany Dawson; and writer Jo Wimble-Groves.
A second TEDxGDST event was held in Spring 2023 at Nottingham Girls’ High School, with a specific focus on diversity and inclusion in education and communities, and how to break down perceptions.