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This week, we launched our new ‘Highgate Her Way’ campaign to embed our work on female health across the school, following the inspirational Sport in her Shoes conference two years ago.

Since then, Highgate has been working collaboratively across the whole school to consider the broader education outlook on female health, particularly within our co-educational environment: from pupil information seminars to facilities and kit review, careers, PSHE, subject specialisms and parent advice networks.

Anna Scott, Head of Female Health and Sport, explains: “Our work on Female Health, that began with Sport in her Shoes nearly two years ago, has really grown to encompass all areas of school life. Crucially, it’s a chance to promote healthy lifestyles and relationships for all genders.”

A key feature of the campaign is basing our work on the insight we gain from pupil voice, drawing on their ideas and lived experiences to deliver physical education in a way that builds and promotes a positive relationship with sport.

“We have 53 pupil ambassadors now, which is amazing, and a real mix of genders across all ages (Y5-13),” Anna enthused. “They’ve really embraced the spirit of open discussions and making a difference – helping to ensure that these don’t have to be awkward conversations.

A selection of our pupil ambassadors. The team has now grown to 53 (see headline photo)

One of their first projects will be a ‘Big Brother, Big Sister’ campaign in association with the Junior School, to help normalise conversations around puberty and offer peer advice and support from Senior School pupils to children in Y5&6.

Thea, Y12, one of our pupil ambassadors working on the campaign, said: “I think it will help reduce the stigma around talking about topics that, especially young students, might find more uncomfortable or challenging and will also educate young girls and boys about the seemingly daunting years they have ahead of them.”

Henry, Y12, agrees, saying: “As an older pupil I have experienced what these younger pupils are going through, and I know there are many questions, problems and mysteries that they are thinking about. As a ‘Big Brother’ I can help answer these questions and make them feel more comfortable as they grow up.”

Maya, in Y10, added: “It’s important to me to help make Highgate a safe and supportive place, where nobody feels ashamed or embarrassed to reach out to others. As a younger pupil I really looked up to and admired pupils further up the school and saw them as role models. Connecting with them when I was in the junior school really shaped my school experience and I would like to offer that opportunity to the current younger pupils at Highgate.”

Highgate worked with The Well HQ for the Sport in her Shoes conference

Philippa Studd, Principal of the Junior School, said: “We hope that the outcomes of this project are a generation of young girls who feel equipped with the right knowledge, empowered by their older peers and determined to continue to participate in Sports and Exercise through their adolescent years and beyond.”

Anna added, “Inclusivity is central to the success of this project and the introduction of our sibling initiatives ‘Highgate His Way’ and ‘Highgate Their Way’ provides a platform for all students to play a pivotal role in shaping their future by using their voice as a catalyst for long-term positive change.”

To mark International Women’s Day, pupil ambassadors and staff have shared stories of women in their lives who inspire them, and how they’d like to promote gender equality. Anna Scott explains: “We believe young women and girls should feel valued for their skills and intelligence and should be encouraged to embrace their uniqueness and pursue their ambitions fearlessly across all aspects of their lives, in school and beyond.”