Gumley House School FCJ

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Catholic Girls' Schools

Are they all they are made out to be?

Our strong Catholic ethos is firmly rooted in the fabric of our school, underpinning our culture, curriculum, philanthropy efforts and dedication to developing every aspect of the student and we firmly believe that our offer of an all-girls Catholic education positively impacts every student in our care, regardless of their faith.

Research indicates that single-sex faith schools have many benefits, many of which are widely practised at Gumley, and evidenced in our highly successful outcomes.  In an ever-increasing competitive world, we know that our learning environment will help students to put their best foot forward.

The benefits are endless: increased productivity in the classroom; greater opportunity to speak out and address topics that would be difficult to discuss in a co-ed classroom; lesser comparison and the creation of a comfortable learning environment. All-girls Catholic schools are recognised as academically exceptional and pride themselves on excellence, a notion we are all too familiar with. We believe that our position inspires in our girls a high level of academic self-confidence and inspires and empowers students to pursue careers in the STEM sector, traditionally dominated by men.

We are driven by our Catholic ethos and the benefits that it can bring to our students. We are relentless in our drive to deliver excellence across the board: in education, support, enrichment and preparing students for their next steps. We believe that at Gumley, life-long friendships are fostered, life changing experiences are cultivated, and students are empowered.

As a result of our position as an all-girls Catholic school, students develop as like-minded women, who are confident, strong, powerful and inspirational. They are fearless, and ready to seize every opportunity available to them. Regardless of faith, we know that at Gumley, every student secures their very best outcomes.

 "When girls go to single-sex schools, they stop being the audience and become the players."
(Robin Robertson)

There is a body of research which suggests that girls do learn differently from boys. According to a study in May 2020, the key 5 reasons why girls excel in a single sex environment can be summed up by the following:

Young women receive a greater confidence and freedom is questioning and in expressing themselves.  The experience young girls receive in girls' only settings develop courage and the experience to face the challenges ahead with equanimity and aplomb. This is the 'can-do' generation and this environment provides an education which allows her leadership and other strengths to blossom.

Girls’ schools help girls to find their voices and to learn how to use them at a young age.
At girls’ schools, students are encouraged and expected to speak their minds, without interruption.
A recent national survey found that nearly 87% of girls’ school students feel they are able to share their voices and their opinions are respected, compared to 58% of girls at coed schools.”

(National Coalition of Girls’ schools)

Confidence & Resilience

Girls’ schools support girls in building confidence and resilience, and at Gumley House we seek to develop this to the very highest of levels. Encouraging courage and confidence is at the heart of our FCJ ethos. Our foundress Marie Madeleine d’Houet encouraged all girls to have:

At Gumley we ensure that girls feel positive about themselves, can overcome challenges and have faith in their ability.  We encourage our girls to take opportunities to shine both in and outside the classroom; to celebrate their successes and to appreciate mistakes.

We create a unique and special environment where girls are encouraged to step outside their comfort zone and take risks. Each girl is encouraged to find her passion and plan for the future with purpose and a positive attitude that will build self-belief and self-worth.  Girls have the space in which their intellect, physicality, and confidence can grow.  Our girls have the freedom to be who they want to be in school and are encouraged to choose whatever educational opportunities they wish to. 

Women at the top of the corporate ladder are too few and far between. Women in academia have enjoyed somewhat more success than some of the other professions. We could go on and on citing examples of pursuits and professions where women have made inroads.  Imagine how much different our world would be if the percentages of women at the top of all these endeavours were greater?  The logical and analytical skills which women bring to the table would be a refreshing. Fewer distractions mean a girl can focus on being herself, finding out who she is, exploring new worlds, lines of thinking and so much more.  She can think outside the box with relative impunity. And that is a good thing. Her career aspirations are not limited or discouraged.  

Courage and confidence, but above all great confidence’ 
(Marie Madeleine D’Houet)

Academic Achievement

Research has consistently shown that girls achieve more in single-sex schools. They make better decisions about their future and are not afraid to be seen to be clever.  At Gumley House FCJ our examination results place us in the top 5% of schools nationally, reflecting the school’s commitment to academic and personal excellence.  One of our school’s values is Excellence and learning at Gumley is uniquely tailored to each students individual needs and girls from all academic abilities achieve really well.  Girls’ schools provide an environment where girls are free from social distractions and feel comfortable to display their intelligence and curiosity. Our teachers know how girls learn and have significant experience in this area. National performance data places girls’ schools amongst the highest achieving schools in the country.

Research published by education data analysts, School Dash in January 2016 showed that in single-sex state schools, the proportion of girls getting five good GCSEs was 75%, dropping to 55% in mixed schools. Girls in girls’ schools are also more likely to study traditionally male-dominated subjects including Maths and Science.

‘Single sex pupils even from poorer backgrounds outperformed those at mixed schools,
with 61% of disadvantaged students at all girls’ schools achieving 5 good GCSEs
compared with 55% in similar mixed schools.’ (Guardian 2016) 

Pastoral Care

Girls’ schools can offer a specialist level of pastoral care specifically designed to address the needs of girls at all levels of their development. The pastoral care at Gumley House was graded by Ofsted as outstanding. Teaching and support staff understand the challenges that girls may face as they are growing up, and a support package is tailored to meet these needs. Whether the needs be medical, social or emotional, provision is tailored so that we are able to create a safe, caring and nurturing environment where our girls can flourish, develop and achieve. We want to support our girls’ but we also want to develop resilience in them, so that they can be ready to face life’s future challenges, whatever they may be ready to face life’s future challenges, whatever they may be!

‘The school’s work to promote pupils’ personal development and welfare is outstanding’
(Gumley House School FCJ OFSTED 2018)

Greater Opportunities

In single-sex schools, girls are able to escape gender stereotyping and enjoy a range of opportunities. Male dominated subjects such as sports, geography, maths, science and technology are extremely popular among our students. Our sport and STEM subjects are incredibly popular right up to A level, with many of our girls choosing to move into these fields beyond the Sixth Form. These subjects, along with the arts and humanities, are well supported by the school and provide students with a host of opportunities.

‘Pupils are ambitious. They are encouraged to take part in a range of activities and events so that they can develop their self-confidence. Pupils are proud of their school’s traditions and values,’   
(Gumley House School FCJ OFSTED 2018)


‘Girls at single-sex schools are more likely to take advanced STEM subjects:
Based on these figures, girls at single-sex schools were 85% more likely to take advanced Mathematics than girls in co-ed schools, 79% more likely to study Chemistry,
68% more likely to take intermediate Mathematics, and 47% more likely to study physics.’  
(The Alliance of Girls’ Schools)


Girls’ schools prepare girls to become women who rise to the highest levels of leadership.  Girls are taught and strive to become strong female leaders at Gumley House FCJ and there are many leadership opportunities. Students can be involved in Student Council or take on responsibilities such as Form Captains, Sports Captains, Environmental Representatives, Liturgy Representatives or House Captains. Students at Gumley have demonstrated their leadership qualities both nationally and globally by participating in various conferences and projects related to gender and the international dimension. 

At Gumley we are proud of our achievements and we know that these could not be achieved if it was not for a single sex environment.

‘No country can ever truly flourish if it stifles the potential of its women’  
(Michelle Obama)