The Girls’ Schools Association, to which Heads of independent girls’ schools belong
The Girls’ Schools Association helps girls and their teachers to flourish. It represents the Heads of a diverse range of independent UK girls’ schools (day & boarding), among which are some of the top-performing schools in the country.
The GSA encourages high standards of education and promotes the benefits of being taught in a largely girls-only environment. GSA schools are internationally respected and have a global reputation for excellence. Their innovative practice and academic rigour attract pupils from around the world. Students at GSA schools enjoy abundant extra- and co-curricular opportunities. Academically, they thrive in the humanities and do disproportionately well in ‘difficult’ modern languages and STEM (science, technology, engineering, maths) subjects. A high percentage – 96% – progress to higher education.
GSA schools share experience, specialisms, opportunities and facilities with state sector schools in a wide range of partnerships. Many also provide means-tested bursaries for families of limited financial means.
Twenty first century girls’ schools come in many different shapes and sizes. Some cater for 100% girls, others provide a predominantly girls-only environment with boys in the nursery and/or sixth form. Some follow a diamond model, with equal numbers of boys but separate classrooms between the ages of 11 to 16. Educational provision across the Association offers a choice of day, boarding, weekly, and flexi-boarding education. Schools range in type from large urban schools of 1000 pupils to small rural schools of around 200. Many schools have junior and pre-prep departments, and can offer a complete education from age 3/4 to 18. Some also have religious affiliations. Heads of schools in the Girls’ Day School Trust (GDST) are members of the GSA.
The Association aims to inform and influence national educational debate and is a powerful and well-respected voice within the educational establishment, advising and lobbying educational policy makers on core education issues as well as those relating to girls’ schools and the education of girls. The Association liaises with the Department for Education, the Office for Standards in Education, the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority and other bodies.
The GSA also provides its members and their staff with professional development courses, conferences, advice and opportunities to debate and share best practice, ensuring that they have every opportunity to remain fully up-to-date with all aspects of their profession.
As the GSA is one of the constituent bodies that make up the Independent Schools’ Council (ISC), its schools are required to undergo a regular cycle of inspections to ensure that these rigorous standards are being maintained. GSA schools must also belong to the Association of Governing Bodies of Independent Schools, and Heads must be in membership of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL).
The Association’s secretariat is based in Leicester.
President 2020: Jane Prescott, Portsmouth High School GDST
President 2021: Samantha Price, Benenden School
Chief Executive: Vivienne Durham (until December 2020)
Donna Stevens (from January 2021)
You can search for girls' schools on this dedicated www.schoolsearch.co.uk page.