Stoneleigh-Burnham School
Promoted by Stoneleigh-Burnham School

Stoneleigh-Burnham School: Where girls learn to speak up and speak well

The ability to communicate well is one of the most important skills anyone can have. It’s crucial to ensure one is understood in an accurate and quick manner in any and every situation. Mastering this as a child is all the more impressive and has many benefits. Research shows, for example, that it improves one’s cognitive skills, from problem-solving and critical thinking to memory and concentration — especially if practised at a young age. 

Studying abroad is one of the best ways to improve one’s communication and language skills. It puts children in an entirely new environment where they are expected to learn and adapt. The challenge is in finding a school that is able to push students to do so without sacrificing levels of support and gentle encouragement along the way. 

Enter Stoneleigh-Burnham School. Established in 1869, this gender-inclusive all-girls boarding and day school for students in grades seven to 12 champions diversity and individuality. Most importantly, it instills a belief in every girl that she is capable of achieving whatever she sets her mind to. 

One of the ways Stoneleigh-Burnham does this is by developing a curriculum that focuses on strengthening language skills. Every aspect of learning here is designed around encouraging girls to communicate well, whether in class presentations or at weekly Housemeetings and student government. 

Stoneleigh-Burnham School

Source: Stoneleigh-Burnham School

Stoneleigh-Burnham’s Debate and Public Speaking Society is another great example. Here, students learn how to arrange and express their thoughts effectively and smoothly. They are trained to speak in front of an audience and under pressure during public speaking and debate competitions at the state, national and international levels. 

First founded in 1981, the Debate and Public Speaking Society has a long history of excellence that continues to this day. Many students regularly become World Competitors, a tradition that has been established since 1988. Last year, the school hosted the Invitational Public Speaking Tournament — its first public event since the pandemic. Four Stoneleigh-Burnham girls competed, with one placing first overall for the entire tournament. 

Outside of the society, many other aspects of life at Stoneleigh-Burnham are centred around fostering language skills, as well. Take the 10th Grade Voice and Empowerment Certificate. Conducted over the span of a year, students in this programme are taught to become advocates for what they believe in. They take specific courses, including the VOICE 10 elective stream, Debate and Public Speaking and embark on a Capstone Project. At its core, students are trained to speak as leaders — and gain the confidence and competence to do so. 

Stoneleigh-Burnham School

Source: Stoneleigh-Burnham School

Of course, the fact that Stoneleigh-Burnham is an International Baccalaureate (IB) school certainly helps in this regard. As a programme, the IB delivers an interdisciplinary academic experience that pushes students to develop their knowledge, critical thinking and communication skills. More than that, it requires students to study two languages — sharpening their cognitive abilities in the process. 

There are many other opportunities for girls to become polyglots here. The performing arts are a great option. At Stoneleigh-Burnham, they are integrated into every aspect of academic and co-curricular life. Students are taught to engage with their creative sensibilities on the daily; they learn to express themselves through music, theatre and dance. 

Combined, this creates young girls who are confident in expressing themselves, knowledgeable in their language skills, and are able to communicate effectively and with clarity. They make their mark. Stoneleigh-Burnham is a member of the Debating Association of New England Independent Schools (DANEIS), a coalition of independent high schools in the state to compete regionally and nationally in public speaking and debating. Stoneleigh-Burnham girls consistently rank among the top performers. 

The result? Girls who see each other as leaders, as orators and authentic champions for the causes they care about. They go on to carve out careers in law, education, advocacy and government — and many more. Their exposure to language broadens their horizons, making for responsible global citizens who are ready to tackle the world’s greatest challenges with confidence, boldness and grit. 

Follow Stoneleigh-Burnham School on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Vimeo, Issuu