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2015 ISI Inspection Report

Excellent in every category

A Public School Education Gives Girls the Edge

This is an extract of an opinion piece by the Headmaster, sent to the Leicester Mercury recently...

Alan Whelpdale, Headmaster at Leicester High School for Girls outlines why an investment in private education gives so much more than just a great set of exam results.

Independent schools, by offering smaller classes and personal support for their pupils, deliver excellent exam results. My school is 69th out of 329 private schools for GCSE results this year, and private schools always top the league tables. Is this enough to guarantee success? Sadly, it isn’t. Every girl here who wishes to be a doctor, dentist and vet will have A* predicted A levels. But so will the other 20 students who will be applying for that one coveted place. So standing out, having a personality, confidence, opinions and charisma are all vital ingredients. These softer, almost invisible skills are just as, if not more, important. In many cases they will ‘clinch the deal’ in an interview. Creating the opportunities for the girls to develop these soft skills is what private schools do extremely well. Earlier in the year, in my own school, on International Women’s Day, girls in Y10-13 met 34 women at the top of their careers: Professors, Managing Directors, Engineers and Surgeons, to name a few, shared their knowledge and experience, and, vitally, contributed to our aspirational culture. Opportunities for leadership, travel and exciting extracurricular experiences give the girls the edge over others. A parent once said, ‘You always know a Leicester High girl when she walks into the room.’ Developing character and academic potential, at the same time, will always result in girls who stand out from the crowd.