insideKENT Magazine Issue 60 - March 2017 - Page 137

EDUCATION IN ASSOCIATION WITH BLACKHEATH HIGH SCHOOL AN ENVIRONMENT WHERE THERE ARE NO LIMITS AND NO GENDER STEREOTYPES IN A ‘GIRLS ONLY’ ENVIRONMENT It’s a given that one of the many benefits of ‘girls only’ education is a classroom environment which is a gender stereotype free zone. The students at Blackheath High are as likely to follow the STEM route as they are an Arts one, each girl choosing to follow their passion unencumbered by the oldfashioned view that our aptitude for a subject comes from our gender. However, education is not just limited to the classroom. Studies in the US have shown that participation in co-curricular activities correlates positively to academic success. In addition, co-curricular activities also develop skills that make students well-rounded and employable. Creativity, self-expression, tolerance, language and public speaking skills, social awareness, team work, the ability to relax, problem solving skills, leadership, concentration, patience, coordination and self-confidence are just some of the extra benefits of participation in co-curricular activities. So, in an environment where challenge is the cultural norm and where there is an absence of gender stereotyping both inside and outside the classroom, girls will also stretch themselves in all of their co-curricular endeavours. They will be encouraged to explore new interests without feeling held back by what society might expect of them. So many of the influences acting on children seem to imply that there are “typical” ways of being a boy or a girl. Girls in particular, need to resist the limitations of these stereotypes and build their emotional resilience, learning the value of risk-taking and the importance of being assertive. Some of our most popular clubs and activities are those which break the stereotypical mould. Thanks to a grant from the Girls’ Days School Trust, we recently started a ‘Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance’ club. Their aim is to restore the bike to its former glory so that it can be sold on with the profits being used to purchase the next bike and so on. Whilst it might be as simple as needing to turn a wrench around to access a bolt, putting parts together is a weekly challenge that requires commitment and passion and proves that gender is not specific to our interests, goals and ambitions. We look forward to welcoming you and your daughter to our ‘School in Action’ morning on 9th March so that you can experience, first hand, what makes our school so distinctive. Mrs Pheiffer, Assistant Head (Co-Curricular and Enrichment) 137