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Miss Hincks is New Girls’ Schools Association President

Miss Hincks, Headmistress of Bolton School Girls' Division, has been announced as the new incoming president of the Girls’ Schools Association (GSA). In her opening remarks she said that it’s vital we help young people to have confidence, critical judgement and a love of learning if they are to navigate the rapidly changing environment of the 21st century. She has also called for public figures and those in positions of leadership to remember that they are role models to children.

Sue Hincks, who will take over the one-year position of GSA president in January, said: “Schools have a complex job to do these days because of the rapidly changing and highly visible world in which we now live. More than ever, we all – schools, parents and the wider community - need to work together to provide children with the skills and appropriate role models to enable them to grow up with the confidence, critical judgement and love of learning that will help them navigate the 21st century.”

She continued to say that clarity of vision has never been more important and public figures must remember that young people are watching them: "The theme for my presidency will be 20/20 vision because, as we reach the end of the second decade of the 21st century, it seems to me that clarity of vision and understanding has never been more important. There are all sorts of people and influences which seek to cloud our judgement. GSA headteachers are trusted by parents to ensure that their daughters are well-informed and have the analytical skills to process what they know and draw rational conclusions from their knowledge. Children are bombarded with a phenomenal amount of information via media of all kinds and, sadly, not all of it is correct and some of it is deliberately misleading. We need to help young people to think clearly, to exercise their critical judgement and to make decisions based on fact father than fake news. But we cannot do this alone. Public figures too – whether they like it or not – have a responsibility to remember that young people are watching everything they do.”

Commenting on women leaders, Miss Hincks said: “Like boys, girls need positive male and female role models. In particular, girls are quite rightly being encouraged to seek out positive female role models in the world around them and it’s important that we help them to make appropriate choices. In this day and age, women potentially benefit - in the media and in business - from being perceived as more authentic and holistic as they attempt to achieve a work-life balance. It is vital that we hold on to these strengths and ensure that we teach the young women we work with to act with integrity and not to tell convenient lies as they strive to further their careers.”

Miss Hincks spoke about the strength of the Girls’ Schools Association, and independent schools generally, in providing young people with life skills and appropriate role models: “GSA and independent schools generally have a long history of providing young people with essential life skills, such as confidence and resilience. We also support parents and invite friends and former pupils back to school to talk about their careers and life experiences. Being able to see and speak to adults who were once ‘like them’ can be hugely inspirational for children - as we saw recently when Michele Obama returned for a second visit to a London girls’ school - and inviting state school students to join us on these occasions is another way that independent schools can and do work in partnership with state schools.” 

Miss Hincks feels strongly about the role independent schools can play in social mobility. One out of every 5 pupils at Bolton School (Senior School) receives financial support from a substantial bursary fund, for which the school is currently fundraising with the aim of increasing it from £20m to £50m. Like most independent schools, Bolton also has a vibrant programme of interaction and partnership with local state schools. Sue Hincks said: “Independent schools can make an impact on social mobility in many different ways. For my school, the principle of open access has always been a priority. Today, 1 in every 5 pupils at Bolton School receives financial support and it is our aim is to be able to fund 1 in 3 pupils, taking in the brightest children who apply, no matter what their financial means.”

On the announcement of her appointment, a number of national papers covered the story:

Telegraph: Social media is turning a generation of children into liars, leading headmistress warns

Daily Mail #1: Reality stars are 'better role models than politicians' says top headmistress who praises the morals of ITV Love Island and I'm a Celebrity contestants

Daily Mail #2: Schoolchildren are so used to projecting a perfect image of themselves on social media it is turning them into liars, a leading headmistress says

TES: 'Private schools help social mobility' says new girls’ schools’ leader

The Times: Unconditional offers ‘will lead to degree overhaul’ 

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