Supported by


and Plashet School, St Angela's Ursuline School and Sarah Bonnell School.


ESIP Apprentice Day - Saturday 21st June 2014

On a gloriously sunny Saturday morning Year Ten met the business delegates at Forest School for breakfast.

The first ESIP Apprentice day opened with Eimen giving a short speech on how ESIP had helped develop her confidence, especially around public speaking and how it had changed her for the better. We showed our delegates clips from the BBC Apprentice so as to show them and the students how not to do it.

Off went the delegates with their first interviewee for a 30 minute grilling on their big audacious goals and how they plan to reach them. After a short break the students underwent a second interview with a different interviewer. It was certainly a challenging experience.

We then networked over coffee, juice and pastries before the support groups. We carefully matched the business delegates and students in evenly sized groups for a detailed discussion on interviews, pitching and how you fulfil your passions. We were able to share wisdom from a wide variety of jobs and experiences and test out some ideas and create plans for the future.

After lunch it was Dragons Den. Each of the eight students made an individual pitch for support of their big audacious goal to a table of eight dragons, a daunting task for any of us. A number of them won support for their ideas and plans.

The day ended with the girls surprising Simon into making the final pitch - an impassioned plea for building a better world one child at a time with a specific request for support to each of the Dragons. Time will tell who invests but at the end of the day at least none of us got fired!

See the photos in our Apprentice Day gallery

Visit the Apprentice Day blog


Business Meets Emerging Scholars - Changing the Conversation (11th December 2013)


ESIP paid a visit to Plashet School on Wednesday 11th December for Business Meets Emerging Scholars, a partnership with SHINE. Just think, ESIP the Saturday school on a Wednesday!

Our seventeen Year Tens came together to discuss key business ideas with a cohort of professionals. We had representatives from organisations spanning professional services, finance, aid infrastructure, culture and more including Ernst and Young, Thames Tideway Tunnel, Tudor Capital and Save the Children.

We made our initial introductions over breakfast and then Rachel McGowan, Head of Plashet opened the event and welcomed the delegates. Rachel explained that “through collaboration we hold dear our commitment to develop in our young women ability, belief, character and enterprise with the ultimate aim of addressing inequality in the world they will leave us to explore.” She thanked the delegates for providing the right exposure and practice to help the girls develop the fundamental skills of networking. After all, this is Business Meets Emerging Scholars.

Sinthuja took on the task of explaining ESIP in three minutes before we broke into groups.

The girls and business delegates focused their debate in small group round tables of nine chaired by an ESIP student. Think of David Dimbleby as a 14 year old girl with an audience that answers back.  The groups focused on key issues such as “What makes a good business?”, “What do we need from the organisations we work with?”, “Why would businesses be interested in equality and diversity?” and “What’s the difference between an employee and an entrepreneur?” We produced a lot of good ideas and changed a few perspectives including that businesses aren’t just run by profit making beings.

Scott Young of Thames Tideway Tunnel commented, “Business can learn an awful lot from young people: their ideas, enthusiasm, insightfulness and passion are inspiring. There are things we’ve discussed today that will directly impact how we will shape our education offer in the future.”

Dolapo Awoyinka of Perella Weinberg said, “It’s easy to forget that young people will be our leaders one day. This event has brought me back to the reality of this significance.”

And Andy Brainin of South Hill Capital added, “These girls have a huge amount to offer. I have been very impressed by their attitude and their desire to learn about business.”

Our students may have been apprehensive at first but excelled on the day. One said, “Honestly, I wasn’t too sure if I would enjoy today but I’ve been proved wrong. I feel as if I have so many people acting as silent supports, the people operating the lights behind the scene. I feel honoured. I am beyond happy.”

Munsifa added, “I really enjoyed the day. It was great meeting new people from different businesses and I learnt that being who you are and being committed are some of the greatest things we can do as people for any situation.”

The break offered the opportunity for more informal networking – including some business to business opportunities for delegates and a chance for the students to ask different questions and make those all important connections and networks.

After a second round of question groups and a reprise of the key points by a student representative of each group we headed downstairs for the closing remarks. Malachy thanked the guests for attending and Munsifa gave a brief talk on what ESIP had done for her in particular. Simon closed the event with an ESIP menu of opportunities to get involved and an offer to follow up breakfast with lunch!

The event proved an excellent opportunity for the girls to showcase their abilities and learn new skills from businesses and non-profits including the importance of how to network. The discussions made us all think differently and a number of us have gone away ready to change the conversation and rethink how we do things. We look forward to seeing many of the delegates at ESIP again in the future.

Find out more at the event blog at


Session 1B (Year 8) - Saturday 23rd November 2013

Today saw the third cohort of girls start the ESIP programme. We welcomed our new Year 8 group with Induction and welcomed their parents to the Headmistress' Welcome Breakfast in the Forest Dining Hall.

Mrs Penny Goodman, Head of Forest Girls' School opened the event and talked about the role of Forest School. Dr Simon Davey, Programme Leader explained the vision for ESIP and the role we play in developing ability, belief and character as well as our expectations of parents and how we can best work together. The impact of ESIP was demonstrated with a presentation from two of our ESIP Year 9s (Jasmina and Jannat) who talked about the difference ESIP had made to them and how much they had changed in the last twelve months.

Parents asked questions in the Q&A session before Mrs Goodman led tours of the school.

Meanwhile all 30 new Year 8s were getting to know each other in the Girls School Hall with icebreaker exercises.

We kicked off Year Eight with the Induction session - an introduction to ESIP with exercises in the Big 5 skills, learning capability Runaround and a series of videos. We played with modelling clay and party poppers to demonstrate the malleability of our brains (and our capability to develop new skills and abilities through practice and effort whatever the extent or our current ability) and how our brains create those new synaptic connections.

“Today I achieved teamworking with people I don’t even know.”

In our Inner Hedgehog exercise, we thought about what we were passionate about, what we could become excellent at and what might make us money in the future. This exercise will help shape our ambitions and future opportunities and leads into future sessions and projects.

After break we headed off to the Ways of Seeing session led by Miss Spencer-Ellis and Miss Taylor.

Ways of Seeing focused on two of the Big 5 skills - creative thinking and critical thinking.

“I have learnt that speaking in front of people isn’t as scary as it seems and learnt that I should believe in myself to be successful. I achieved reading my poem in front of others. It gave me more courage to do challenges I wouldn’t normally do.”

We learned about perspectives (and challenged our perspectives) and we interpreted some paintings (and discussed how our interpretations were different to the artists). We brainstormed ideas and we created a poem each.

Most of the girls had the opportunity to read out their poems from the ‘chair of confidence and poetry’. Although some girls initially didn’t want to read they fed off each other’s confidence and became proud of their efforts. They learned more about how to take their peers’ ideas into account and think more deeply.

"Even the girls who didn't like English and Poetry enjoyed the session."

By the end we had a better understanding of the different views of art and poetry and flexed our creative muscles.

 “I learnt about different ways of seeing and I learnt that to be successful you will fail sometimes but you need to try.”

At the end of the day we had Reflection Time, an opportunity to consider what we had learned and set ourselves some challenges to build on that learning in advance of the next session. 

See the gallery of photos from the day.


Session 1A (Year 9) - Saturday 9th November 2013


The Year 9 Emerging Scholars returned for their second year and kicked off with the return of Michael Mallows for Advanced Crafty Listening. The day was all about making better decisions.

We also welcomed four new mentors for Year 9 – Amrit, Anokhi, Chandni and Ellie.

The girls started off with remembering back to May’s initial Crafty Listening session and what we had used from that session and the effect it had had on us.

We moved on to a model called Discounting Problems. It follows a set of levels and helps explain our relationship with problems. The first level is existence (the problem doesn’t exist), the second is significance (it doesn’t matter), the third is changeability (it can’t be changed), the fourth is personal power (I have no power to do anything about it anyway). We had good discussions in small groups about how we use the model in our day to day lives and what we can learn from it.

“The discounting exercise has helped me turn a problem into a solution.”

We then created a Coat of Arms each – identifying six things which make up the Coat of Arms: our biggest success, our biggest failure, our hope for year 9, our hope for the next five years, our motto and our epitaph. We then used elements from the Coat of Arms (e.g. success, hope) and investigated them further with clean questions to better understand them. This provoked some excellent explanation, deep thinking and much better personal understanding of what we want.

“The coat of arms exercise made me think about the future and what I want to achieve.”

Learning styles are a popular concept which aren’t always well understood. The girls played an exercise imagining they had been on holiday together and were meeting to reminisce. They had to talk about their holiday experience only in term of things they either ‘saw’ (visual), ‘heard’ (auditory), or ‘felt’ (kinaesthethic). It certainly provided a challenge especially for those girls who were working against their natural learning style.

Year 9 is going to be about building new positive habits and one thing we have recognized is having your hand over your mouth whilst speaking makes you very unclear so we are on the lookout for that one!

The lifeboat exercise involved us creating a character profile each which was then randomly shared with another student. Each of us then had to make our case for not being thrown out of a lifeboat to be eaten by hungry, intelligent sharks. We learned how important it was to build on argument (not just make simple points), to provide evidence, to not back down quickly in the face of a more intimidating or louder debating opponent and to be aware of our system one and two thinking. We moved on to think differently about the problem (reframing) and thought about how as individuals we often fight for survival at the level of being heard. (Less about drowning or being eaten by wild beasts and more about being listened to).

We recapped what effect the last Crafty Listening session had on the girls and here were some of the highlights:


  • “I think more before I speak so it makes sense before I say it and makes me understand what I’m saying better and with more confidence.”
  • “I use system 2 thinking in essays and assignments, thinking more deeply. I explain answers more (not just as single sentences) and my grades are higher.”
  • “I’m using the GROW model to define actions, explore options and turn them into goals. I actually see the steps more clearly and experiment with options.”
  • “I use system 1 and 2 to analyse more. I don’t shoot my hand right up but think first and then do it.”
  • “I used thought-feeling-insight. It helped me on a maths test. I wanted a high level (thought), adopted a positive attitude (feeling) and changed my revision methods to help me work harder and better by doing more home study. As a result I got the level I wanted.”
  • “Using system 1 and 2 to explore possibilities and answers rather than just thinking one thing, so finding out what works best.”

After lunch we mixed up into 4 groups of 5 to debate whether an Oxbridge education is the best and the only education you would want. This proved hard for some girls who had to debate the opposite of what they believed but it proved a good opportunity to practice debate and to develop counter arguments.

We moved to Well Formed Outcomes to help define how we can reach our goals. Once we had our well formed outcomes and discussed them we then analysed how we sabotage ourselves – examples included not paying attention, procrastinating or just doing the wrong thing (because it’s easier and the immediate pay off is better). All the students found the sabotage exercise insightful.

“I achieved my goal to participate more. This will make a difference to me because I can and will be confident to speak in and outside of school. I also learnt about Well Formed Outcomes which was what I want, how will I know I am moving forward to it, how will I know I got it and how can I sabotage myself. This will help me be more organised with myself and who I want to be what I want to be older.”

The day ended with a relaxation exercise and after the usual reflection time we all left, tired but better informed. The girls have developed more self awareness and self-reflection skills and they seem able to listen better and longer (the proof will be in class and other activities). They are learning to ask better questions and this is helping develop their emotional intelligence. They are growing in confidence, being more open, saying what they feel and learning to recognise what goals to set themselves.

Year 9 are back in four weeks for Session 2 when they will be joined by our new Year 8s.



Session T1 (Year Ten) - Saturday 12th October 2013

Today was Confront and Improve Day and the day sixteen Year Ten girls embarked on their third year of ESIP.

Michael reintroduced us to clean questions and we started by sharing with each other ‘our thoughts and feelings at this moment’. The girls took turns to share their thoughts and to ask clean questions such as “What kind of X is that X?” “Anything else about X,” “When X what happens next?” and “When X what would you like to have happen?” where X was the thought/feeling the other person wanted to clarify or understand better.

“My challenge is to use clean questions to find out more information in school or in a general conversation if I want to find out more or confirm something.”

Building on the work from their applications to Year Ten the girls then identified and clarified one area they wanted to improve on this year.

Next, we created our Well Formed Outcome. We learned the key criteria were: stated in the positive (not something you DON’T want to do), getting started and success or failure depends entirely on you, sufficient to move you to action and keep going at a comfortable pace, and is specific and measurable. The use of clean questions ensures we elicit answers which give us as much information as possible about the issue we are interested in. The girls were very open in their sharing.

“Today I came up with a well formed plan to keep positive, happy and relaxed and thought about causes and effects.”

We then started a similar but kinesthetic exercise called SCORE – Symptoms, Causes, Outcomes, Resources and Effects. We set up a SCORE line of five bases (one for each letter/element) and Michael and Dona demonstrated the technique using the issue of ‘workload’. 

The girls then broke into pairs and each pair ran through the SCORE exercise (using SCORE bases – either walking a line or walking a circle) using clean questions to better understand the issues and come to clearer plans, outcomes and effects by better distinguishing symptoms from causes and deciding what resources they needed and could put in place. One of our students then modeled her experiences of boiling anger and learned how she could overcome the frustrations which build up over the day – ‘kettle-kontrol’. 

“I was able to achieve a bigger view at things that I keep a closed answer for. I was able to realize my main area for improvement. This will help me as I will later develop this and improve on it.”

We selected our accountability buddies and made formal declarations to video of what we were committing to improve this year (our Well Formed Outcome) and how we would know we were making progress.

We wrapped up the day with a summary of what we had covered and finished on the three axioms of accountability – the accountability myth (that we have been as effective as we should be, it’s their fault), the accountability assumption (people are doing their best to fulfil your expections) and the accountability truth (look at yourself, what’s wrong with what you’re doing).

“I learned about the axioms of accountability – how people can shift blame when really they need to hold themselves accountable.”

All in all, a very productive day having learned how to set outcomes, the important of commitment, how accountability works in practice alongside becoming much better at clean questions and communication to make some practical changes to our lives to help us in the future.

See more photos in the Gallery