Whether at the school gates, watching a sports match or collecting from a school trip, mums and dads everywhere can recognise the ‘pushy parents’ of their child’s school friends.
However, Manchester High School for Girls is actively encouraging their parents to get pushy. As part of the school’s recent ‘Blow Your Own Trumpet’ week parents were asked to write in about their daughter’s achievements; ones that the girl herself may not have had the confidence to shout about in school.
Helen Jeys, Deputy Head and Head of Pastoral Care at Manchester High School for Girls, said of the week: “We all know the caricature of a ‘pushy’ parent; the one-way conversations at the school gates, evening tutoring, the relentless involvement in every after school activity going. It’s easy to mock.
“While there is obviously a down side to parents being too ambitious for their children and piling the pressure on, what we don’t want to do is give our girls the message that it’s wrong to talk about their achievements.
“We’ve found that girls can be far too modest for fear of coming across as boastful in the eyes of their peers, which is why we need mums and dads on board to let us in on some of the successes they’ve been keeping hidden.
“Blow Your Own Trumpet week is all about our girls having the self-confidence, not arrogance, to celebrate their accomplishments. We live in an increasingly competitive world; whether it be an interview for work experience, a university place or even their dream job, our girls need to be able to articulate their personal triumphs and feel proud of them.”
Student Emily Bold chose to showcase her artwork
Pupils’ achievements were celebrated throughout the week with a display of trumpet shapes in the school’s reception area highlighting what the girls feel proud of, special assemblies and a lunchtime ‘soap box’ that girls can jump on to share their stories.
Nicola Stockdale is studying for her GCSEs at Manchester High School for Girls. One of the quieter members of the school community, Nicola’s mum, Jenny, wrote to the school as part of ‘Blow Your Own Trumpet Week’: Nicola has faced many personal difficulties over the last two years, she lost her father to cancer just 12 months ago and despite this has remained a wonderful, positive girl. Along with her younger sister she has raised almost £2,000 for bowel cancer charities, but her skills don’t end there. Over the summer, she has been volunteering at Debdale Outdoor Centre, where she has helped to supervise many children, some with difficulties, on the water, introducing them to sailing and windsurfing in a safe environment. During this time she has achieved a V100 certificate for 100 volunteering hours and has successfully passed her powerboat exam to receive her powerboat licence.”
Jenny commented: “Myself and the family are extremely proud of the young lady that Nicola has become. It’s wonderful that the teachers at Manchester High have recognised that some girls haven’t yet developed the confidence to really shout about their successes and weeks such as this really do give them a helping hand.
“I’m not worried about being labelled a ‘pushy’ parent, I’m just a normal mum who is impressed everyday by my inspirational daughter.”
Nicola said: “I know my mum believes in me 110% and this gives me the confidence to go out and try new things. I’m pleased that she wrote to school to let people know about my fundraising and volunteering activities, as it’s something I probably wouldn’t have brought up myself. Now there are lots of other people at school believing in me and willing me on – it’s a good feeling.”