Anxiety about appearance can put great pressure on young people. Today there is more pressure than ever on young girls to be physically perfect. We see this reflected in the news all around us. To tackle this, staff and pupils devoted a week to focusing on raising girls’ self-esteem. In a series of assemblies just for the girls, the school focused on what is meant by self-esteem and how negative images in the media can damage our perceptions of ourselves.
The aim of the assemblies was to build body confidence in the girls by providing an understanding and dealing with feelings about physical appearance. The school wants to encourage the girls to develop a positive relationship with beauty, helping to raise their self-esteem, and thereby enabling them to realise their full potential.
Each girl was asked to write one achievement on an apple shaped notelet and these apples were then "harvested" and displayed around school. The aim was for every girl to "blow their own trumpet" and recognise their worth and potential.
Mrs Claire Hunt, Assistant Headteacher said: “Building self-esteem is crucial; self-esteem is core to how we act and react, make decisions and choose our road through life. Girls in particular often struggle with poor body image, peer and social pressures to look a certain way, or can lose confidence in their academic abilities during adolescence. At Saint Paul’s we want to help ensure that the girls grow up to be strong and confident women.”
“The effects of high or low self-esteem can be seen in how we treat ourselves and others. It affects how secure we feel, and our self-confidence,” said Head Teacher, Mrs Fiona Minshall. “High self-esteem can mean we are comfortable with who we are. People with high self‑esteem often have the confidence to achieve their full potential. Low self-esteem means that we do not value our true worth. This can lead to feeling helpless and not being in charge of our lives, even feeling resentment or blaming others. With low self‑esteem we are unlikely to achieve all we could, or be all we could be. We hope that these sessions, and our approach in school, will help the girls to focus on their strengths and give them greater confidence in their abilities making significant positive impacts of their self-image and helping them to reach their full potential.”