GSA Girls Go Gold Conference

September 24, 2023

Ten Withington pupils attended the Girls’ Schools Association Girls Go Gold Conference hosted this year at The Abbey School in Reading on Thursday 14th September.

The theme of the conference was Leading with Confidence, Learning with Purpose, Living with Joy. Dame Katherine Grainger, Dame Denise Lewis and Sarah Hunter CBE were among the line-up of sports professionals sharing their experience and expertise to inspire the audience of 550 girls and PE staff from 40 schools.

Withington pupils took part in masterclasses with experts in their field including a netball coaching session with Fran Williams, who played in the history-making squad at the World Cup this summer. They also met and were coached by the Head Coach of the England senior women’s lacrosse team, Mike Molster and player Zoe Lovibond, and former professional tennis player and coach for the Lawn Tennis Association, Danny Sapsford. One student participated in a hockey masterclass held by Susannah Townsend who was part of the winning team at the 2016 Olympic Games, another took part in a football session, and two students completed an introduction to rowing, which they both thoroughly enjoyed.

There were seminars and talks by leading athletes and sports science specialists on topics such as success and setbacks; leading change in women’s sport; rehab and recovery; and female nutrition.

Mrs Jennifer Carter, Teacher of PE, said: “The Conference was a wonderful opportunity for our students to learn in an engaging and dynamic way. Through masterclasses, seminars and discussions, they have enriched their understanding and enjoyment of sport. It illuminated the incredible power that sport can have. We were all inspired.”

Year 11 pupil Kit said: “After a long journey to Reading and a great night’s sleep, we were raring and ready for a day of female empowerment. We arrived at The Abbey for a fun warm up and then we were sectioned off into our allocated sports. After a lovely lunchtime sharing the stories of the morning, we all split off to go and listen to guest speakers. They all were really engaging and valuable to our later (and current) sporting lives. Overall, we found the day wonderfully fulfilling and would recommend to anyone who is presented with the opportunity to attend.”

The Girls Go Gold Conference is part of a series by the Girls’ Schools Association. The Go Bold programme was created to honour and celebrate the brilliant talents and potential of young women and includes the Creative Writing Competition in which two Withington pupils were commended.