A-Level results day: King Edwards High School for girls releases 'sexist' press release describing 'photogenic' twins

The school generally has a reputation for academic excellence

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The Independent Online

A school in Birmingham has been accused of sexism and undermining the achievements of its own pupils, after it allegedly contacted media outlets ahead of A Level results day to boast that two of its “very photogenic” twin students had conditional Oxbridge offers.

In a press release allegedly written by a freelance journalist, King Edward High School for girls in Birmingham showcases the academic achievements of its pupils, including how 30 girls will be reading science, engineering, technology or maths at university, and that 23 teenagers achieved 3 or more A* grades.

Appearing to anticipate the much-criticised habit of newspaper photographers seeking out smart, pretty girls to snap on results day, the document describes two “very photogenic” identical twins.

“The identical twins Jenny and Carrie Soderman, 18, from Solihull look likely to have won Oxbridge places and scored excellent results.

“(Jenny had an offer from Oxford, Carrie from Cambridge. Both are very photogenic,” an extract from the release reads, before adding the girls each gained 11A*s at GSCE, and are “outstanding sportswomen”.

Pauline Geoghegan, who runs the Politics in Brum blog, tweeted the email on Thursday.

She said: “press release from academic hot house King Edward School for Girls Bham reveals sexism is alive & kicking”.

On Storify– a website used to collate media from across the web – Geoghegan wrote:  “The pupils at King Edward High School are academic stars, sisters and a PR dream, twins.

“But that's not enough to grab the headlines apparently. The freelance journalist who pushed out the press release to multiple media chose to focus on the twins' looks, describing then as “very photogenic” trivialising their mammoth achievements.”

 

Others tweeted their shock that the academically strong school would “be so crass”, while others questioned whether the girls knew they were being used in this way.

Both the school and Jenny and Carrie Soderman have been contacted for a comment, but have not yet responded.

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