Our Girls Can...

On Friday I was sent to Coventry. Literally.

Incidentally, you may or may not be aware that Coventry was the 'inspiration' for The Specials Number One 'Ghost Town', a statement about the malaise of the inner-cities in early-80s Britain!

My experience of the city's spooky charms was limited to a Holiday Inn Hotel room overlooking Junction 2 of the M6, having been invited to attend a Rugby Football Union conference on the role of the game in promoting wider learning in schools following the 2015 World Cup. I should have read the invitation more carefully; I was expecting Twickers!

I am however glad I went. The event offered a fantastic opportunity to showcase our unique Sixth Form Girls Rugby Programme developed in conjunction with London Irish...

London Irish Girls' Rugby at Park House


In doing so I was able to build on another presentation I made with Year 13's inspirational World bobsleigh Number One, Annabel Chaffey, on the factors that have contributed to outstanding female sporting success and participation at Park House.

Star Wars Image

Annabel stole the show! As I said to the audience of politicians, policy makers, sports national governing bodies and educationalists, you don't need to go to a galaxy far away to find a powerful role model to awaken the force of female sporting talent... We have them in our own school!

Annabel Chaffey

Between us we talked about...

An underpinning culture and ethos in the school based on values of excellence, inspiration and equality...

Reflected in the identification of high achieving female athletes and broadcasters to meet with Year 7 on the very first day at school and present at celebration evenings...

Alex Danson
Clare Balding

And reinforced across the school by our paintings of iconic moments of female sporting success...

Female Olympians
Anna Watkins and Catherine Grainger

How we listen to the views of students about what sporting activities they want to take part in so that our offer is relevant and engaging for young women...

And how we translate this into practice by building personalised learning programmes that enable students like Annabel, Chloe and Katie to combine preparation for elite sporting performance with equally high level academic studies

Chloe Bruce signs for Oxford United
Annabel Chaffey

Such has been the success of this approach that we are about to launch our own interpretation of the highly successful national  'This Girl Can' female sports participation campaign on the website: 'Our Girls Can'!

Watch this space.

Given the specialness of our female students' achievements I'm going to conclude by returning to my Specials inspired opening theme: at Park House there's no room for Stereotypes and you really never can do Too Much Too Young!