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IWD: Inspiring Mount women to mark International Women’s Day




Here at The Mount School, every day is a celebration of women and girls. However, there are times when we want to shout about it – International Women’s Day on Wednesday 8 March is one of them.  

International Women’s Day (IWD) is a significant day when people around the world come together to recognise the achievements of women and girls, whilst also acknowledging the struggles women worldwide continue to face. To mark the start of our celebrations we look back at ten inspirational Mount female stories from the past year.  

  1. Alexia and Minnie, budding entrepreneurs 

Budding entrepreneurs Alexia and Minnie (Year 8) helped raise funds for St Leonard’s Hospice by running a stall at the MSA’s Christmas Fayre.

The pair launched their homemade gifts brand ‘Pig and Mins’ earlier in the year. Their business plan sees them make candles, clay ornaments and inspirational creations to sell as gifts. What started as a hobby soon became a fantastic way to combine an activity they enjoy and a clever way to generate pocket money and raise funds for charity.

In February the girls delivered a cheque to a very grateful St Leonard’s hospice who were impressed by the girl’s business acumen and generosity.



2. Nicola Spence CBE 

In November, Nicola Spence, a former pupil of The Mount, was awarded a CBE from King Charles III or her services to plant health. 

As Chief Plant Health Officer (CPHO) and Deputy Director, Plant and Bee Health for the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Nicola leads the fight to prevent plant and bee disease. She advises ministers, industry and others about the risks posed by plant pests and diseases and ensures that measures are in place to manage the risks and minimise their impact.

3. York City Ladies Footballers 

The Mount School are proud sponsors of the York City Ladies Footbal Club. We were delighted last season when the ladies won the Northeast Regional WFL Premier Division title and the County Cup in 2022. 

In October, Mount pupils and staff were invited to attend the Minsterbelles LNER Community Stadium debut. In a Yorkshire derby, York Ladies played against Leeds United, ending in a 1-1 draw.  The girls had a fun time cheering the players on from the stands. 

4. Amelia and Katie award winning public speakers 

In November, we celebrated Year 9 pupils Amelia and Katie who were announced as winners of the York Civic Trust Speaking Competition 2022.  The highly anticipated annual competition welcomes participants from 12 local senior schools to submit impassioned speeches surrounding a variety of contentious and complex issues.  

Amelia and Katie chose to answer the question, ‘With the Queen’s statue recently being installed on the Minster front – who else deserves their statue in York?’  Both girls clearly fought with conviction as they were voted the winning team.  The pupils were then invited along to be interviewed by BBC Radio York. 



5. Georgia, Greencore Apprentice 

Georgia, former Mount pupil, helped us mark #nationalapprenticeshipweek2023 by telling us more about her current apprenticeship role. “I am undertaking a Level 6 Chartered Management Degree Apprenticeship at Greencore in their Commercial function.” As part of her apprenticeship scheme, Georgia will receive a BA (Hons) Management and Leadership and will gain Chartered Manager Level status upon completion of her fourth and final year.   

6. Ruby and Vakare Smashing Sporting Sterotypes  

Mount girls are not afraid to challenge stereotypes and gender roles especially when it comes to sport. In November, rugby player Ruby (College II) was selected to represent the County with Yorkshire RFU. The scouts from the Yorkshire Team praised her resilience and positive attitude. “Being able to represent my county is something that is really special to me. The girls in the team are so talented, and it is such an honour to play with them,” commented Ruby at the time.

 Also in November, Vakare in Year 7 was invited by the National England and Wales Ice Hockey Society to attend their training camp. Vakare, who has played ice hockey for two years and is the only female on her team shows exceptional talent for the sport despite her young age. 

7. College I become Wellbeing Leaders 

This year a group of six College I pupils have taken on the role of well-being leaders, offering their services to help and support the emotional well-being of younger Mount pupils and their peers.   

As part of the five ways to well-being initiative, developed by Mind UK and the NHS, the young women have dedicated their time to connecting and building trusting relationships with the younger pupils. Following a presentation introduce themselves the girls have offered drop-in sessions throughout the school day for girls to come and chat.   

8. Mount Ladies of The BBC 

As the BBC celebrated its centenary, we celebrated pupils at The Mount who have made their impact on the British institution including actress  Dame Judi Dench, Radio 2’s commissioning Executive and Deputy Head of station, Laura Busson and BBC News reporter Cathy Killick. 

9. Mary – Mountain Leader & Intrepid Explorer 

In Summer 2022, a group of intrepid explorers visited North-west Iceland for the first Borealis expedition, including Mary. Mary who is now studying Computer Science and Mathematics at The University of York, has been selected as the first recipient of the school’s sponsorship scheme to develop young leaders for the future to support the school’s outdoor education and expedition programme.  

Mary has begun training for her Mountain Leader and Wilderness ‘Far from Help’ First Aid qualifications and will return as an Assistant Leader for the next Borealis expedition to East Greenland Expedition in 2023.  


10. Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell 

To mark 2022’s International Womens Day renowned astrophysicist Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell and former Mount pupil returned to School.  

She spoke to pupils about her experiences of being a woman in STEM, including smashing stereotypes at university, being overlooked for the Nobel Prize for Physics, and being the second-only woman to be awarded the Copley medal, which began in 1731.  She reiterated to the girls that “Girls can do physics, and can do it well” 

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