Local school on a STEM mission for girls
The Principal of Harrogate Ladies’ College, a leading independent school has warned that a great deal more needs to be done to entice more girls to study science-based subjects after a groundswell of interest.
Sylvia Brett, who has been Principal of Harrogate Ladies’ College for the past eight years, is on a mission to ensure schools increase opportunities for girls to pursue subjects in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
Mrs Brett, who has more than 25 years’ experience working in the sector, highlighted 75 per cent of girls from the school entering at least one STEM A level subject for the academic year - compared with the national average of 51 per cent. She said living through the pandemic had helped students "to appreciate and see the value of technology and engineering", in helping to create a “better world”.
She added, “I think there is a shift - I can see that in the children. They don’t want another generation to go through what they have gone through and they want to make a better world” and stressed the current climate is an “opportunity in time” to ensure gender divides become a thing of the past for the next generation of female scientists, coders and engineers.
The number of STEM students in higher education in the UK that are women stands at 35 per cent, according to Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA). While medicine courses have seen female applicants overtake male counterparts in recent years, women still remain under-represented in most STEM industries - particularly engineering and technology.
Mrs Brett, who was previously the Deputy Headteacher at Roedean School in Sussex said, “We’ve seen how some of the amazing innovation in science and engineering and maths have come through the work of women across the ages and the figures about the lack of students studying STEM subjects who are women are really quite concerning.
“One of my big things is there shouldn’t be any subjects that are closed to anyone - whatever their gender. Girls should be able to do whichever subjects they want to - what we are trying to do here is help the girls find their passion - whatever it is, without any sense of having to be within a particular channel or conveyor belt about their lives.
“Just to feel that every opportunity is open to them and they don’t ever feel that they have to stop being themselves in order to fit into a world but actually truly be themselves and follow whatever passion they have. I feel very optimistic that the world is changing in terms of how we view people in the workplace, in terms of their individuality and respecting them for being who they are. But there is an awful lot of work to be done.”
Find out more
Harrogate Ladies’ College is now accepting applications for Year 7 and Year 12 entry for 2022. Year 7 Entrance Exams will take place on Saturday, 15 January 2022. Apply online at www.hlc.co.uk/entrance-exams.
The College is holding an Open Morning on Friday, 4 March 2022 - 10am-12pm. It takes place on a normal teaching day and includes a presentation from Mrs Brett and pupil-led tours so you can find out about their personal experiences of College. Register at www.hlc.org.uk.openday.
For more information or to book a personal visit please call the Admissions Team on 01423 537045 or email [email protected]