Supporting our girls to develop intellectual agility

At the recent Girls’ School Association conference Professor Lord Robert Winston of Imperial College London gave a fabulous presentation. Amongst other things he explored the importance of scientific literacy and intellectual creativity. This really resonated with me and what we are doing within our diverse curriculum to ensure our girls leave us with a desire to continue their intellectual journey and think outside the box.

Leadership requires intellectual agility as well as the essential ability to empower others - I believe all our girls demonstrate this. For example, last week the Upper VI girls following the International Baccalaureate Diploma programme completed their Theory of Knowledge essays exploring various aspects of knowledge and truth.

This week the Lower VI began the heats of their ARTiculation competition in which they articulate their views on a particular aspect of art. Around 4,000 young people nationwide participate annually in this event which invites students to express their ideas about a work of art of their choice. Topics ranged from Warhol’s Marilyn Monroe screen print to The Great Wall of China. This capacity to challenge themselves is essential to success and fulfilment.

At the same time as providing a safe environment for girls to test new ideas, we also encourage them to find time for themselves and down tools, as exemplified by our recent Reflection Week. In the lower years, the week began with an incredible performance on the violin by one of our Music Scholars. This uplifting music set the tone for the week ahead. For the rest of the week, Lower IV focused on ‘Gratitude’ in form time and Skills for Life. Our Wellbeing counsellor talked to the older girls about strategies to help stay calm in challenging circumstances. All in all, five days during which the girls could really take time out to just be.

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