GDST Girls’ Futures Report: Dr Kevin Stannard Talk

8 February 2024

On Wednesday 7th February, we welcomed Dr Kevin Stannard, Director of Innovation and Learning, to present the GDST’s Girls’ Futures Report to our school community.

The GDST Girls’ Futures Report is a landmark research study, looking at the aspirations of young women in education. With insights from 1,358 girls aged 9-18 in England and Wales, it sheds light on their career and leadership ambitions, self-confidence and perceptions, and how prepared they feel to enter the world.


The GDST Girls’ Futures Report found that girls want to reshape the workplace so that it fits them, their preferences and their aspirations. They want to be able to work flexibly in a job that makes a difference to society, with less emphasis on being their own boss or becoming rich. Whilst girls hold strong ambitions in what they want to achieve, they want to bring more collaborative and open traits to leadership, succeeding without compromising their own well-being for career success.


Dr Stannard talked of the report’s findings on girls’ confidence and highlighted that girls’ confidence drops during their teenage years. This results from a range of potential factors, including expected models of behaviours, and perceived roles in school and social situations. Girls also cite a heightened focus on body image – particularly through social media – and the pressures of exams as playing a part in limiting their confidence.

The Girls’ Futures research found that girls from non-GDST schools experience a fall in confidence between the ages of 14 and 18. The doubts they feel and the challenges they experience limit their expectations of the world of work and how prepared they feel to tackle life after school, as well as their confidence in taking risks and in challenging gender stereotypes.

The GDST Difference

Dr Stannard highlighted that research showed that girls from GDST schools have greater confidence that they can achieve their goals and believe in their school’s ability to prepare them for the future, compared to their peers in other schools across the country. We believe this demonstrates the GDST difference.

Our experience as experts in girls’ education has shown us that it fosters higher academic achievement, greater diversity of subject choice, stronger self-confidence and resilience and enhanced career progression. GDST schools are designed around collaborative classrooms, a curriculum that gives girls the freedom to explore, and strong positive role models who shape inclusive cultures.

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