A Christian boarding school in south-east England is to introduce a new programme for girls and women to start their schooling.
The Grace Church of the East will offer a new curriculum called Grace Girls’ School to a group of more than 100 girls and female learners, who will have the opportunity to take a two-week summer break in an area of the country where there is no other school.
The programme is being run by Grace Christian Academy, the national body for the Christian education of young people in the UK.
The new programme is designed to support girls in their growth as women and will be led by Dr Rebecca Cairns, the head of the school.
In a video of the launch ceremony, the school said: “The Grace Girls programme is a new initiative for girls in a country where, although girls are being taught about feminism, the number of female teachers is extremely low.”
“Grace Girls’ is an exciting new programme which will help young women learn how to be leaders and leaders themselves, with the support of their Christian faith,” said Ms Cairn.
“Gracie Girls’ aims to equip them with the skills and skillsets to become successful leaders and make a difference in the lives of girls and young women in their communities and in society as a whole.”
The Grace Women’s Leadership School will run from August 1, 2020, to May 1, 2021.
The school has been receiving feedback on its programme from the education industry and other organisations, including the British Association for Christian Schools, which is supporting the programme.
“We believe this new programme will help to provide a better education experience for girls across the country and around the world, and is a real step forward in our work to build a stronger, more diverse and inclusive Britain,” said Dr Cairsons chief executive, Ms Tana Waddell.
“The Grace Boys’ Leadership School is currently being funded by a private philanthropic grant, and we’re pleased that Grace Girls has chosen to go further and to use their programme to improve the lives and futures of girls.”
The school said it would offer the girls an opportunity to work in a mentoring capacity to help them develop their leadership skills.
“There will be opportunities to be mentored by the Grace Girls and the Grace Boys, to help develop and develop skills in leadership and leadership-related skills,” it said.
“These skills can be used by girls in the classroom, in leadership positions, or in leadership-relevant positions in the workforce, such as senior management roles, corporate governance, public service, government, charities, schools, community groups, and more.”
The programme will also focus on the school’s partnership with the Girls’ National Leadership School in England (GNSE).
The Grace National Leadership school is run by the Church of England, and has about 100 girls in its programme.
The GNSE has also recently introduced its first girls’ school, with its first schoolgirl taking her first exam in January.
“I feel very proud to be part of the Grace Church,” said GNSEs school head, Mrs Liana Mowbray.
“This new initiative will help us to make sure we provide a safe and supportive learning environment for girls, as well as provide a positive environment for boys and young men to grow in their leadership and development.”
Grace is the first national school to offer a full-time programme for young women to take part.
The scheme has already been offered to more than 300 girls aged 12-19 in the south-west, and plans to expand to include more women.
Grace said it was looking forward to seeing the results of the programme, which will be used to help create an environment of trust, confidence and respect among the students.
“As a result of the feedback we have received from our school, Grace is determined to do more to support young women through their journey,” said Mrs Mowbays chief executive.
“When they are ready, they will be ready to learn.”