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Stand up comedy classes.

Stand up comedy classes.

A girls’ school is running stand-up comedy classes for pupils so they have the courage to ask for a pay rise in the future.

Nina Gunson, headmistress at Sheffield High School for Girls, said the new course is aimed at boosting pupils’ confidence so they are able to have “difficult conversations” later in life.

“Lots of our girls do things like debating, public speaking but those things aren't for everybody,” she said. “They have, I would say, they put off as many girls as they attract. They really do require a certain skills set and personality type to a certain extent. We wanted to diversify the different sorts of settings that girls could develop those same skills.” 

Mrs Gunson, 43, who teaches the course herself, said that learning how to deal with a “dead audience” and hecklers teaches girls how to think on their feet, how to understand people’s responses, and how to learn that “panic is their own worst enemy”.  

Not only will these skills help to build resilience in teenage girls, but they will also enable them to “stand up for their rights, pay and benefits” in the workplace, she added.

The eight week courses, which started running this month, are currently available to sixth-form pupils but if successful could be introduced for younger pupils at the £13,359-a-year school.


Cheryl Giovannoni, chief executive of the Girls’ Day School Trust (GDST), said that boosting girls’ confidence “will ultimately close the gender pay gap”.  

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