Great team problem solving skills give girls a headstart in the workplace | Portsmouth High School

Great team problem solving skills give girls a headstart in the workplace

Last week as mock examinations ended Years 11 and 10 were treated to a team building day hosted by the company Eyes Wide Opened who specialise in coaching and developing young people.

The mixed teams of both years had to develop a new juice drink complete with packaging and advertising strap lines and present it to the Dragon Den style panel of judges which included the CEO and marketing director of Cawston Press, the juice people. Mr PT and myself were very much the inexperienced members and a little in awe of the people from the juice company.

If Mr PT and I were unnerved by the weight of experience of our fellow panel judges the girls did not show any nervousness at all. Not only did they produce a delicious product they presented and sold their drink to us in a way that impressed the judges. Some even set in motion the chance of gaining valuable work experience.

I was therefore not surprised when I read in the media last week of a report that said women work better at problem solving in teams which gives them a head start at work as most employment is collaborative.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) – which carries out PISA tests that evaluate students’ academic abilities – assessed 125,000 15-year-olds to see how well they solved problems

collaboratively. In all 52 countries girls outperformed boys.OECD Secretary-General José Angel Gurría said more emphasis should be placed on improving team problem-solving skills among children.

“In a world that places a growing premium on social skills, education systems need to do much better at fostering those skills systematically across the school curriculum,” he said. Girls were at least half a year ahead of their male counterparts.

Last week’s problem solving exercise demonstrated this so clearly. It came as no surprise to me that the girls were so impressive. One of the Cawston Press directors who had been looking for a school for her daughters in London said that whilst she had visited girls’ schools in her search and heard all the pros of a single-sex education she hadn’t truly accepted the argument until she spent a day with our girls. To say she and her colleagues were impressed is an under-statement.

At PHS the girls are exposed to a whole host of opportunities such as this type of day and these increase in number through the sixth form. We prepare the girls well and furthermore they rise to the challenges offered and gain much through the experience.