Parent Power 2023 identifies the highest-achieving schools in the UK. The definitive school rankings use the most recent moderated public examination results from the state and independent sectors.
The Sunday Times commended the school for jumping 141 places since 2019 in the national ranking to 88=, and also referenced the school winning the TES Independent School Awards Wellbeing Initiative of the Year in 2021. Helen Davies, Parent Power Editor at The Sunday Times, referenced how the pandemic allowed the school to stop and look at what they were doing and why.
Overall, girls have triumphed in the Parent Power League with girls-only schools appearing to have coped better with the effects of the pandemic in both the private and state sectors.
Cheryl Giovannoni, Chief Executive, GDST, said: “A huge congratulations to all our students and staff at Norwich High School for Girls. This impressive leap by more than 100 places on the Sunday Times Parent Power List since 2019 is a testament to the commitment and hard work of the Head, Alison Sefton and all the staff who have worked tirelessly through some challenging times. I am especially proud of the students, who continue to achieve great things, regardless of the unprecedented disruption they have experienced through Covid. They continue to demonstrate curiosity, confidence, ambition and determination, as well as impressive resilience.
“I hope Norwich High School’s award for ‘East Anglian Independent Secondary School Of The Year 2023’ helps to highlight the real difference that this fantastic school in our family of 25 can make to girls’ education across the country. GDST schools provide a learning environment specifically designed for and dedicated to the development of confident, courageous, creative and resilient young women who are encouraged to learn without limits, so they can go on to lead lives without limits and make the world a better place for all.“
Head of Norwich High School for Girls, Alison Sefton, said: “We are absolutely delighted to be named Independent Secondary School Of The Year for the East Anglian region by The Sunday Times. Over the last three years, the ability of the students and teachers to adapt to the changing demands presented by the pandemic ensured that when the GCSE and A Level examinations came around, they took them in their stride and excelled. The results are proof of the students’ success. On reflecting on what factors have contributed to this, especially given the tough period we have all been through during the pandemic, I would like to highlight the following key areas:
A girls-first environment
Our girls-first environment, warm community spirit and focus on wellbeing support lets students be uniquely themselves and supports them in following their own pathways. This ethos builds curiosity, confidence, ambition and determination in students, and through the pandemic they demonstrated impressive resilience. An already embedded digital approach to learning meant we were able to adapt as we entered lockdowns.
An all-through school
An all-through school provides continuity, a comprehensive and shared approach to learning and mutual values, as well as consistently high expectations from every member of the strong community which includes parents and staff. We get to know every student. Our 3-18 model helps to build ambition thanks to strong role models for the younger girls and multiple empowering leadership opportunities for the older students.
A limitless outlook
The students did not perceive any limits on what they could achieve, regardless of the unprecedented disruption beyond their control; as evidenced by the broad range of first choice destinations and subjects our Class of 2022 have gone on to take at university, including engineering, medicine, classics, illustration, theatre and performance and teaching. We are equally proud of those who have gone on to take a gap year, start apprenticeships or go directly into the workplace.
As a profession, teaching attracts highly dedicated individuals, and we are lucky to have inspirational staff. The pandemic made us stop and look at what we were doing and why. This reflection reinvigorated staff to support pupils to find their niche, whatever that might be. At Norwich High School for Girls GDST, if you apply yourself well and contribute positively to the community, there are no other moulds to fit. Not only do our pupils relish the opportunities made available by the school and the GDST, but also wider opportunities such as the many wonderful university webinars, online courses or virtual work experience. This enhanced our UCAS preparation programme, which ensured that our Year 13 pupils knew what they wanted (as well as what they did not want). Our sixth formers are always stretched and challenged allowing them to be bold in their choices with increased purpose and focus.
Part of something bigger
Being established in 1875 as the first GDST school outside London, we are proud to be part of this unique network which broadens horizons and provides opportunities for students, staff and alumnae. We prioritise preparing students for their futures. In essence the network is women helping women. Access to the network particularly opens up in the Sixth Form through two well-structured, monitored platforms – GDST Rungway, a forum for questions about work and university, and GDST Life, where students and over 100,000 alumnae can connect for broader mentoring.
Community matters to us
Our girls contribute to and benefit from our unique community fostered by staff and students. They positively support the lives of others in school and the wider community; they are outward looking and networked. We are committed to opening up our facilities, expertise and time to our local community, creating opportunities for collaboration and supporting and engaging with their initiatives.”
Join our school
Find out more, register your interest or book a tour via https://www.norwichhigh.gdst.net/admissions/join-our-school/