Science Push for Girls; Can Studying the Stars Be a Way of Getting Girls More Interested in Science? Rebekah Oruye Looks at the Growing Popularity of a New Course in Astronomy at One Birmingham School
Byline: Rebekah Oruye
Traditionally boys significantly outperform girls in science at schools across Britain.
The Government has already acknowledged that more must be done to encourage girls to take up science.
Recent figures by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) concluded that boys scored on average ten points higher in science tests than girls. So how does an all-girls school encourage its pupils into picking the subject beyond the compulsory studying age, with physics in particular struggling to get high interest from young female students? King Edwards VI High School in Edgbaston (KEHS) is trying to buck the trend by introducing a new GCSE - in astronomy. And gazing up at the stars and learning about the earth's place in the solar system seems to have drawn the curiosity of students.
Bringing the subject to the school was the brainchild of head of physics Dr Bernie Tedd.
Dr Tedd, himself an amateur astronomer, found out about teaching astronomy while at a meeting of the European Association for Astronomy held in the Canary Islands a few years ago.
He said interest in physics was relatively low at KEHS compared with biology and chemistry and decided to offer extra-curricular sessions in astronomy at lunchtimes and after school for pupils keen to find out about the earth and its place in the wider universe.
He said: "Interestingly, astronomy seems to capture their imagination amazingly. They associate the awe of the night sky with themselves whereas physics is a maleoriented subject."
"The nice thing about it, is that the new things you see in the newspapers like the discovery of dark matter, is accessible for them. …