Girls thriving at co-ed NBH Canonbury

Celebration of female achievement

In recognition of International Women’s Day this term, we commissioned a series of illustrations to celebrate the ways in which our female students are thriving at North Bridge House Canonbury.

There are many arguments for single sex education based on the rate at which girls and boys mature and their distraction to one another, particularly in the teenage years. However, at North Bridge House, we do not believe that gender should make a difference in the classroom or to overall school life. We believe that academic success is the result of quality teaching and a school’s ethos, from its learning environment to the opportunities created within it.

We find that our co-ed environment shapes the social skills needed for adult life and develops the ability to mix naturally with the opposite sex – helping to prevent the very gender prejudices rebuked by IWD. We create equal opportunities for young men and women to achieve the best results possible, and to pursue their chosen careers with strength, knowledge and global awareness.

The Academic Girl

At North Bridge House Canonbury, we set students up for academic success by engaging them from the moment they join us, sustaining enthusiasm through a broad and stimulating curriculum and, most importantly, outstanding teaching.

Schools are under such pressure to deliver exam results that they often invest their time and efforts in Years 10 and above, leaving the earlier years – albeit unintentionally – neglected. However, our teachers tailor the curriculum to engage each and every pupil, not just the particularly talented or those preparing for exams.  All children need to be stimulated, including those who are quiet or “average” in their class.

‘Through well planned teaching, teachers engage students exceptionally well and support them fully to make rapid progress in their learning.’ (Ofsted, 2015)

From Year 7 to Sixth Form, we use every school year to instil confidence in our students and really advance their learning, with many joining us to realise their potential. When students reach their exam years, they do not suddenly find the curriculum daunting but perform even better than expected.


Melina Pelling, NBH Canonbury graduate / Medicine undergraduate

I joined Canonbury because I thought I could do better than I was and really wanted to study Medicine at university. I was previously predicted three B’s but now I’ve got three A’s and am so delighted I’m able to achieve my dream.

The Sporty Girl

Child obesity has become one of the most serious public health concerns of the 21st century. With reports that only 12% of 14 year old girls get enough physical activity a week, adolescents are at increased risk of developing various health problems and are more likely to become obese adults.

North Bridge House Canonbury has reinvented the idea of PE for girls, introducing exciting and untraditional activities to overcome the self-conscious worries common to their teen generation. Rather than feeling awkward exercising around boys – as research has found – girls at Canonbury are motivated in the rich and varied co-ed programme.

From ice skating to fitness, boxing to pilates, our inclusive approach to sport means girls no longer dread getting hot and sweaty doing commonplace school sports that do not appeal to them. Sport is compulsory for both girls and boys, but we give them an eclectic mix of activities in six-week blocks, so they can rotate around the likes of judo, volleyball, tennis, rock climbing, sailing and aerobics.

The Girl Understood

Teenage mental health has become a significant cause for concern and in the past decade, the Department for Education has found a 10% rise in depression in girls alone.

At NBH Canonbury, we strive to promote students’ mental and emotional wellbeing and, in turn, enhance their academic progress. We are committed to understanding teens and the impact of adolescence on the way they think and behave. As experts continue to shed light on teenage brain development and behaviour, we strive to effectively harness their research in our students’ personal and academic development.

Visits from Jonny Benjamin, teenage mental health champion, and Professor Sarah-Jayne Blakemore, leading social neuroscientist of adolescent development, have informed our pupil support programme as well as parents. Meanwhile, students have been empowered by workshops such as The RAP Project, which promotes awareness for teenagers negotiating social media and its influence on attitudes and expectations, as well as supporting young women’s personal safety.