Star Olympian inspires Nottingham Girls’ High School students

Nottingham Girls High School

Nottingham Girls’ High School is an independent day school for girls between the ages of 4 – 18. Part of the GDST (Girls’ Day School Trust) Nottingham Girls’ High School is the largest school within the group. The GDST is the leading group of independent girls’ schools in the UK, with nearly 4,000 staff, and 20,000 students between the ages of three and 18. As a charity that owns and runs a family of 24 schools and two Academies in England and Wales, it reinvests all its income in its schools. Founded in 1872, the GDST has a long history of pioneering innovation in the education of girls.

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Nottingham Girls’ High School recently welcomed British Olympian Gail Emms MBE as guest speaker for their Sports Awards Evening. Helping to celebrate the athletic achievements of the school’s pupils, Gail spent time training with the school’s budding badminton stars, before addressing the audience and presenting the many awards.

The event acknowledged such successes as the Year 8 and 9 girls doing particularly well in badminton this year, as well as becoming runners up at the Sainsbury’s School Games in March, created to celebrate competitive sport in young people of all abilities. Year 10 and 11 also became city runners up in November at Central Venue League Badminton.

“Gail Emms was such an inspirational, amusing speaker - a big role model,” said Dani Ashwell, who won the Carol Stinchcombe Memorial Trophy for the most outstanding individual contribution to school sport. “I was so proud to take part in this celebratory event and it was great to see people's achievements being recognised.”

Hailing from an independent girls’ school herself, Gail is proof of the opportunities and successes on offer in such an environment. Not afraid to acknowledge set-backs and disappointments, the athlete has instead used them to her own advantage and stresses that success can only be achieved through dedication, which she views as the most important skill to have in any environment.

Now retired from professional competition, Gail Emms has turned her attentions to sharing the hugely positive impact that sport can have on life and wellbeing, working as a Youth Sport Trust and Badminton Sport England Ambassador, inspiring young people to be more active and lead a healthy lifestyle.

Jane Skinner, from Nottingham Girls’ High School PE Department, said: “It’s a real pleasure to welcome somebody like Gail, who has had similar schooling to our own girls, is passionate about sport and who has been so successful in a game which is perhaps under-represented in many schools.”

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