Girls' Schools Association

Girls' Schools Association
PurposeProfessional association for headteachers of independent girls' schools
HeadquartersSuite 105
108 New Walk
Region served
Mainly United Kingdom
2020-21: Jane Prescott[1]

The Girls' Schools Association (GSA) is a professional association of the heads of independent girls' schools. It is a constituent member of the Independent Schools Council.


The GSA can trace its history back to the Association of Headmistresses which was founded in 1874 by Dorothea Beale and Frances Buss. The aim was to agree which issues need challenging and which could be ignored. Buss served as the founding president.[2]

Enid Essame of Queenswood School was an honorary secretary before she became president in 1960.[3] She was succeeded by Diana Reader Harris in 1964.[4] She served until 1966 organising a considered response to the influential Plowden Report. It was established in 1974 following the amalgamation of two of the AHM's sub-groups: the Association of Heads of Girls' boarding Schools and the Association of Independent and Direct Grant Schools. It moved from London to new headquarters in Leicester in 1984, where it shared offices with the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) before moving to its current office, still in Leicester.


The GSA is a member-led organisation providing mutual professional support and representing the views of practising heads of independent girls' schools. A series of member-led committees report to a council of heads which is led by officers ie the president, vice-president (usually the previous year's president), the president-elect and treasurer. Each presidential position is usually held by a practising head for one calendar year.

Since 1994 the GSA has been supported by a professional secretariat which is currently led by Chief Executive Donna Stevens.

Member schools[edit]

Below is a list of GSA member schools. Some members are the girls' sections of "Diamond Schools".

United Kingdom[edit]




Northern Ireland

Channel Islands[edit]

Overseas members[edit]

Former members[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Peck, Sally (24 March 2020). "Are single-sex schools finished?". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 5 April 2020.
  2. ^ "Buss, Frances Mary (1827–1894), headmistress". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/37249. Retrieved 18 October 2020.
  3. ^ a b "Essame, Enid Mary [Emma] (1906–1999), headmistress". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/73466. Retrieved 18 October 2020.
  4. ^ "Harris, Dame (Muriel) Diana Reader (1912–1996), educationist". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/63305. Retrieved 18 October 2020.

External links[edit]