Sutton High is proudly Girls First

You may have read the news last week that the number of single-sex schools in the UK is reducing. The GDST and Sutton High remain proudly ‘girls first’ and I am very firmly of the view that providing an all-through, all-girls education remains absolutely critical, at a time when the gender pay-gap in the UK remains at 7.7%, when just 15% of engineering graduates in 2022 were female, and when just 9% of FTSE 100 companies have a female CEO. I am sure you will agree that there is still so far to go in achieving equality.

Our aim at Sutton High is to enable our girls to be fiercely independent and to learn without limits. Girls here are not restricted by gender stereotypes when selecting subjects for GCSE or A Level, where the STEM subjects remain our most popular choices. Girls are taught to develop confidence in who they are and to be proud of their individuality. They are shown that they can select any career they wish and that that they need not be in the shadows. They are constantly reminded of how our alumna have led the way for them, and we are always so pleased to welcome alumnae back to school to offer them guidance as role models, showing them what they can aspire to.

The GDST’s own Girls’ Futures Report, published this year focuses on what girls want from their education, and the ways in which the GDST is working to respond to this, to ensure Sutton High girls are future-ready. By being part of the largest girls’ school group, we have access to amazing opportunities, and it was a joy to host the LEAD Conference last week, where Sixth Form pupils, alongside nine other GDST schools, heard from experts in leadership and built their entrepreneurial skills in advance of their work on the LEAD Diploma, in association with the London School of Economics. Being a girls’ school means that leadership opportunities can be tailored towards empowering our pupils with the skills they need to succeed.

At girls schools, pupils with additional learning needs thrive. A study by ImapctEd and the Girls School Association in January 2022 revealed that pupils with SEND have higher metacognition and wellbeing outcomes than those in co-educational schools. At Sutton High School, we believe that is because of our razor-sharp focus on wellbeing and the support offered to those with a range of needs.

In an all-girls environment, pupils feel better able to be physically active, and to participate in male-dominated sports. Pupils here are 30% more likely to enjoy participation in cricket or football than their peers at co-educational schools, according to a 2022 study. 60% of our pupils represented our school in a sport last year, with 677 pupils (out of our 900 on roll) currently taking part in at least one active sports club each week, bucking the trend that nationally, two-thirds of girls give up physical activity and sport by the time they hit puberty.

Having taught during my career in boys’ schools, co-educational schools and now here at Sutton High, I can confidently say that an all-girls environment is unique and that girls learn in a very different way here – I hope that you look back on your time here with fondness and joy. Girls here are free to collaborate, question and thrive in an atmosphere where they do not have to shout to be heard. The ethos is purposeful and supportive, and pupils here know that they can open any door, smash any glass ceiling and pursue their goals with support and teaching that is targeted and tailored for their needs as girls.

In launching our 140th Birthday Bursary Campaign in January 2024, we hope to enable more girls and young women to access a Sutton High School education, where they can grow in confidence, develop their strengths, passions, skills and talents and be proud to be who they are.

Beth Dawson, Head

Sutton High Prep School

86 Grove Road, Sutton,
Surrey, SM1 2AL
T. 020 8225 3072

Sutton High Senior School

55 Cheam Road, Sutton,
Surrey, SM1 2AX
T. 020 8642 0594