Norwich School Blog

IWD22: Mrs Hill Introduces our International Women's Day series

Tuesday 8 March marks International Women's Day, a day to celebrate women's achievement, raise awareness against bias and take action for equality. This week we are celebrating women across our community who have been a part of helping to #BreakTheBias by being some of Norwich School's 'firsts' - first female Head of School, first female Lower School Captain and first Senior Girl. We also hear from some of our current pupils and staff. Mrs Hill introduces the series further below:

"I am delighted to be a part of this week's celebrations and we are excited to share with you, throughout this week, some voices from the past by way of 'Female Firsts' at Norwich School along with some of our current voices - as part of our ‘One School, Many Voices’ campaign. 

During this week you will hear from the following:

Miss Jess Harris - now a teacher at Notre Dame Prep School, but our very own Senior Girl in 2008 (at the point at which we launched Norwich School becoming fully co-educational).

Following Jess, we have Miss Elle Tivey, now in our Sports Department: our First Female Head of School in 2012/13 and also a blog from our Current Head of School: Millie Clark

Not forgetting our younger pupils, we also hear from Lauren Rowe - all the way from Boston, USA: Old Norvicensian and our First Female Lower School Captain in 2011 along with our Current Female Lower School Captain: Beau.

I'd like to thank all five individuals for taking the time to write a piece about what International Women's Day means to them. You may wonder why I feel so passionate about this? Well, I too believe I am one of Norwich School's 'Female Firsts' as am proud to have been the first female Head of Maths, the first Senior Mistress and the first female member of our Senior Management Team.

One of my favourite memories of my 19 years at Norwich School (so far) is the day that every year group in Norwich School became fully co-educational. This took a little while, as we integrated our girls into the school gradually, but we had achieved our goal by 2011, I think. To continue my trip down memory lane, here is an excerpt from a Norvicensian article written about our girls in 2009:

'At the end of this first term, comments from various Housemasters suggest that the girls have coped very well with the transition. ‘The girls in L4 have been a revelation. They all seem in their own way settled and are performing extremely well. The boys also seem fine with it all - I guess they know no different’ and ‘I have been surprised at how seamless the integration of girls has been.'

A big event of the year was the charity Whole School Pink Day, where boys and girls alike were encouraged to wear a pink accessory and donate money to Cancer Research (later in the year we also ran in the Race for Life – girls from L4, L5, L6, U6 and staff all for one cause).

The current Upper Sixth form girls were most supportive with the change they were experiencing and were always willing to look out for girls in younger years. Jess Harris (Senior Girl) deserves a particular mention as she met weekly with the Senior Mistress and took a major role in supporting the transition to co-education. She led a team of House Mentors (not just prefects) linked to U4 & L5 girls and represented the girls at major events throughout the year. Of the social events that were arranged at key moments during this special year, one of the most memorable was when the prefects enjoyed afternoon tea in October followed by a half-year celebration and end of year get-together with Mrs Hawkins in the Bishop’s Parlour. This marked the official closure of the Girls Room at Norwich School – it was universally agreed that as girls arrive in more and more of our year groups, such a room does not belong!'

I feel privileged to have been part of this special journey and am delighted that we are now able to welcome all pupils from the age of 4 through to 18 to Norwich School.

I hope you enjoy hearing about our experiences thus far."