The Girls' Schools Association

GSA logo

The Girls’ Schools Association is a membership organisation that aims to champion girls’ schools, girls’ education, girls, and their teachers. An expert in girls’ education, GSA promotes girls’ best interests and regularly commissions rigorous research to demonstrate the modern relevance, proven benefits, and enduring power of girls’ schools. 

Its membership is made up of Heads from a diverse range of independent and state girls’ schools including many of the top performing in the UK, altogether GSA schools educate over 90,000 students. GSA schools are internationally respected and have a global reputation for excellence. Their innovative practice and academic rigour attract pupils from around the world, and abundant extra and co-curricular activities nourish the whole student in a complete education. 

The Association aims to inform and influence national and international educational debate and is a powerful and well-respected voice within the educational establishment, facilitating dialogue with policy makers on core education issues in addition to those relating to girls’ schools and the education of girls. The Association has strong links with the Department for Education, OFQUAL, Awarding Bodies and Higher Education institutions. 

In addition to acting as advocate, GSA provides its members and their whole school communities with expert-led professional development courses, conferences, and a unique network that provides opportunities for debate and sharing of best practice with colleagues.

Modern girls’ schools come in different shapes and sizes. Some cater for 100% girls; others provide a 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. 

Girls’ schools and girls’ education achieve transformative outcomes for young women. With the most recent Department for Education data revealing that in girls’ schools: girls are 2.6 times as likely to take Further Maths and more than twice as likely to take Physics and Computer Science A level compared with girls in coed schools; uptake in sciences is higher, Biology is 40% higher, Chemistry is 85% higher and Maths is 88% higher; Computer Science has seen the largest growth in uptake for girls, with the percentage of girls taking Computer Science doubling in girls’ schools and 68% higher than in co-ed schools; girls continue to outperform students in co-ed schools in KS5; girls perform better in girls’ schools than in co-ed schools in KS4, looking at all subjects as a whole, and also for Maths and English separately. The data also shows that the gap between girls in girls’ school and girls in other types of schools is further widening in Further Maths, Chemistry and Computer Science, with girls’ schools acting as stewards and guardians of these subjects for young women today.

The international benefits of educating girls are life changing for society; the education of girls lifts people out of poverty, grows economies, and saves lives; a child whose mother can read is 50% more likely to live beyond the age of five, and twice as likely to attend school themselves. 

The GSA is one of the constituent bodies that make up the Independent Schools’ Council (ISC), and its schools are required to undergo a regular cycle of inspections to ensure that these rigorous standards are maintained. Most GSA schools 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) or the National Association of Headteachers (NAHT). Early Career Teachers take part in the Induction Programme overseen by ISTIP.

The Association’s secretariat is based in Leicester: Suite 105, 108 New Walk, Leicester LE1 7EA

Tel: 0116 254 1619

Chief Executive: Donna Stevens

You can search for girls' schools on this dedicated page.