Closing the Gender Gap in STEM

Closing the Gender Gap in STEM

In recent years, there has been a growing concern about the underrepresentation of girls in STEM fields.  With the ever-growing demand for skilled STEM professionals, it is crucial that we inspire and empower the next generation of scientists, engineers, and mathematicians.  A recent article by The Times highlighted the issue of women in STEM, stating that the UK education system is "failing girls in STEM fields."  We know this not to be the case at Farnborough Hill; we are dedicated to providing a comprehensive STEM education that fosters a love for learning and cultivates a passion for innovation.  Our enriching STEM curriculum, coupled with a widespread co-curricular programme, enables girls to explore their interests, develop their skills, and thrive in these critical fields.

We have a wide STEM offering, as well as a variety of co-curricular clubs such as Robotics Club, TeenTech Club and Greenpower Club, which all have a strong focus on hands-on learning, providing pupils with the opportunity to apply their STEM knowledge to real-world problems.  Our exciting Greenpower Club, where girls are building an electric race car, was oversubscribed and we needed to close our signups early.

Mrs Carrie McNerney talks about our Mathematics offering below:

“At Farnborough Hill, Mathematics is a subject that our girls thoroughly enjoy. We focus on developing fluency, reasoning and problem solving. Our girls are encouraged to question the 'why' as well as the 'how' to develop a deeper understanding of concepts. We aim to build resilience, confidence, and enjoyment in the subject, as well as an appreciation for the role of mathematics in the real world. 

We are very proud of our girls' achievements in the subject. At GCSE, in our last academic year, 53% of our girls attained a Grade 7 or above, with 34% attaining a Grade 8 or 9. In GCSE Further Mathematics, 75% of pupils attained a Grade 8 with 100% of pupils attaining a Grade 8 or 9. 

The passion and enjoyment of the subject continues into the Sixth Form, with 38% of our sixth formers opting to study Mathematics or Mathematics and Further Mathematics at A level. The girls really excel in the subject. Our 2023 A level results show 50% of our Further Mathematicians attaining a Grade A*, 75% Grade A* - A and 100% A* - B. Our A level Mathematicians attained outstanding results with 88% of students attaining a Grade A* and 100% attaining Grade A* - A. 

All our students attained their Mathematics grade required for their university courses. Our girls have gone on to study many courses where a deep understanding of Mathematics is a prerequisite or recommended such as Natural Science (Cambridge), Computer Science (Birmingham, Bristol), Physics (Durham), Psychology (UCL), Pharmacy (Nottingham), and Mathematics (Exeter).”

Mrs Susan Macey, Head of Science, says:

“Science is always a popular subject at Farnborough Hill. Pupils in Year 9 have a free choice between studying the separate sciences for GCSE vs Combined Science. For the last few years, about half of the year has opted for separate science, which uses one of their option choices so they are choosing science over other subjects. Science A levels are also a popular option with the Sixth Form. This year, 57% of our Lower Sixth do at least one of Biology, Chemistry and Physics, with many doing two or even all three of those. If you add in Computer Science and Psychology, 86% of girls take at least one of these subjects. The majority of the girls who study science at A level go on to Science or STEM-based degree choices, including Physics and Engineering.”