One of the most challenging classes I taught when I was teaching was a Set 2 all girl class. They were bright, intelligent and had such low self esteem between them that I wanted to shake their insecurities out of them until they realised how brilliant they were (or could be).

I couldn’t understand how such an intelligent set of girls could be so unintelligent when it came to so many logical things. Then I thought, was I like this when I was 15? I almost definitely was! I wanted to write an letter to remind them and my 15 year old self that actually they’re amazing and they shouldn’t doubt that for one second.

An open letter to all young insecure girls everywhere (especially my old 10A3 class)…

I have seen your talent. I have seen your potential. I have seen your kind heart, intelligent brain and I can see where it could get you in 5, 10, even 15 years time.

You are so much better than you think you are. For one, you are one half (the better half) of the human race – you are a girl. No, not a girl, but a bunch of young women and you are the reason why the other half are here! You are growing up and even though you are so nearly an adult, you’ve still got a little to learn.

For example, you need to know that boys are not everything. If they don’t appreciate how amazing you are then you don’t need to waste your time with them. They simply aren’t good enough for you and if at any point they make you feel like you aren’t good enough for them, then you’re wrong. Don’t worry about him not texting back, don’t worry about him liking another girls insta or texting another girl, because he is just a temporary blip in your relationship history while you find a real man.

As for pretending to be anyone else other than yourself, or pretending you aren’t as intelligent as you really are – you have to be kidding right?! If you have to dumb yourself down for a boy, then that boy really does not appreciate how clever you are and so you can 100% do better.

Ladies, you need to support each other and not attack one another. Together we achieve far more than using your efforts to go against one another. There’s no need to call each other names or put each other down. We clearly do that to ourselves enough. There’s nothing that breaks my heart more than seeing two women pitted against each other when they could be supporting one another.

Your friends matter so have their back. However, just because your friendship group is expanding or going off in other directions doesn’t mean that you’re no longer friends. It just means that you have to work that little bit harder to see them, or accept that these things happen from time to time. Unfortunately, that’s life.

Education matters and it is one of the most important tools you will have. Education opens up doors and so make sure you have as many doors open to you as possible. It’s long, it can be boring and it takes hard work so make sure you stick at it. However, balance it with hobbies, friends and fun and it’ll go a lot faster.

Sometimes you can’t be perfect (Leah) but you’re pretty damn close and as long as you’re trying you will achieve everything you set your mind to! Unfortunately life is a game of trial and error and the answers aren’t always obvious so keep going and you’ll get there.

Don’t give up on things like sport because you’re a girl. It’s important, it’ll keep you fit and it’ll keep you happy. Exercise releases endorphins that trigger the ‘happy’ chemicals in your brain. Some of you (Keeley, Alisha, Mollie) were super talented Netballers when I left and you should totally keep it up (if you’re not already).

Finally, remember how capable you are. I told you all on my last day with you that you’re all capable of going to University if you want to. Scratch that. You’re all capable of doing whatever you set your mind to and I hope that you will keep on being the incredible set of girls that you are (even if you did drive me insane 2 out of 3 lessons a week).

Lots of love,

Miss Gillett x