It’s a daunting thought that the UK needs 100,000 new graduates in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects every year until 2020 to maintain the current employment numbers – let alone expand upon them.
Historically, it’s been the boys who have veered towards careers in the science and technical field, with girls more likely to choose languages and the arts.
Even today, nationally, only around 20% of students studying physics post-16 are girls and just 15-20% of the current STEM workforce is female.
Many students already have some idea of where their future lies by the time they reach secondary school.
And, with only around 1% of parents choosing engineering as a career option for their daughter, it has been suggested that perceptions should be challenged from a very young age – right back in the primary schools.
Future Schools Trust is fortunate to manage schools right across the age spectrum; from our Tiger Cubs nursery provision, to Tiger Primary school, then on to either Cornwallis or New Line Learning Academy.
We draw no distinction between the sexes from Day One and our girls are brought up to embrace science just as much as the boys.
Indeed, experiments across the range of sciences in KS1 fuel all our children’s fascination with the magic of nature, gently introducing them to the wonders of biology, chemistry and physics. Mathematics, of course, is a given for all our pupils!
While we still have more girls studying languages and the arts, than engineering, computing, sciences and maths, we were able to boast a 90% pass rate or higher in triple science at Cornwallis Academy last year.
In a field that is becoming increasingly important in today’s world, we hope to see more of our students considering a degree in a STEM subject – with a greater likelihood of a rewarding career path at the end of it.
The percentage of females who make up the current registered engineering workforce in the UK is around 6%. We will be encouraging Cornwallis and NLL girls to take on the challenge of becoming women in what is still a man’s world.
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