Northfleet School for Girls, a co-operative Trust in Kent, recently hosted Sue Owen, Permanent Secretary for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, and Helene Reardon-Bond, OBE, as a reflection of its emphasis on women in business and high places such as science, technology, engineering and maths.
Sue, previously Director General of Strategy at the Department for Work and Pensions and an Adviser on family policy at the Number 10 Policy Unit, spoke to a range of students and launched a new careers pack which gives practical advice and links for young girls to become work-ready and economically independent and aims to encourage high ambitions in young women. The school piloted the material, with students asked to contribute their views and thoughts about hat would work in their families. Helen then chatted to small groups of students who had had success as entrepreneurs or made extra contributions to the school through student councils or as mentors.
The school was also invited to Mansion House in London for ‘the Women’s Business Council One Year On’. Northfleet is featured on the Council’s website for its work pioneering coding as part of the Code.org initiative led by Nicki Cooper, subject leader for computing and one of the school’s two Computing at School Master Teachers, which aims to make women feel more confident about and literate in the use of technology. Northfleet’s Governing Body has Barbara Collins, a member of the Council, as a member. She noted that the school puts a real focus on a growth mindset, with girls being shown that determination and life skills, as well as academic qualifications, are needed to be successful.
At Mansion House the school discussed its work with Fiona Woolf, the Lord Mayor of London and the Rt Honorable Nicky Morgan MP, Financial Secretary to the Treasury and Cabinet Minister for Women, who set out the government’s priorities for women and the critical role they have to play in the county’s economic growth.
Julie Wilson also took part in a ministerial round table looking at what is needed in schools to promote high-flying careers for women. She said: “Our students have their eyes firmly fixed on the future and on developing that vital grit and resilience as well as confidence and self-belief.” She added that teachers, as well as progression Mentor and Careers Adviser, back up this work on a daily basis.