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September 19th 2019

Getting 'set for life' at the Inspire East Conference

The first Friday of term saw Year 12 setting off bright and early for the GDST Inspire East Conference, a well-established school partnership event that links Norwich, Northampton, Blackheath and Bromley.

In the Sixth Form we aim to build our students’ awareness of the GDST community and opportunities that the Trust and our Alumnae network can provide. Our Cambridge “Get Set For Life” conference, which this year was organised by Kate Elliott, our Head of Sixth Form, gave the opportunity to meet and network with other GDST students and recent alumnae, as well as hearing from renowned speakers and attending skills workshops.

Another aim of the conference was to highlight to students the need for them to develop and refine the thinking skills that will help them to negotiate their personal and professional lives. There was also emphasis on cultivating soft skills which are so important to networking, establishing successful relationships, managing people well and working effectively in a team. The speakers for the event, Hayley Barnard and Jane Marshall were chosen as prime examples of successful women who have learned the skillset required to “getting on in life”.

Hayley shared her life story with the girls, describing how she moved on from less than perfect A level results, to running Sir Chay Blyth’s “Challenge Business” in her twenties. Hayley is the MD of Mix Diversity Developers and has trekked across the Arctic and swam the English Channel.

Jane Marshall has worked for many years, at both LSE and Imperial College as an admissions tutor. She has a wealth of experience when it comes to advising students about Higher Education, which she always delivers in an amusing and engaging way.

Her messages definitely stuck and our students were especially fascinated by what she had to say.

"Jane was absolutely wonderful, telling a story of resilience from a perspective that all us students could relate to perfectly. She was funny and engaging, yet managed to highlight all the key information we need for our post-sixth form lives and imprinted it in our minds. I found it both enlightening and inspirational."

These keynote speeches were complemented by optional afternoon sessions, with students choosing to learn more about Presentation Skills, Debating, Apprenticeships, Skills for Science A levels, Determining Truth and the Alumnae Network.


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