The DfE has granted £2.4m in funding for the Gender Balance in Computing project, trialling a number of strategies to improve girls’ participation in computing.
A number of new initiatives will be rolled out across England as part of the project, involving over 500 schools and 15,000 pupils. The trials will be run from 2019-2022 in key stages 1–4, representing the largest national effort to tackle this issue to date.
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Gender Balance in Computing is a collaboration between the Raspberry Pi Foundation, STEM Learning, BCS The Chartered Institute for IT, and the government’s Behavioural Insights Team. It is one of the programmes associated with the wider National Centre for Computing Education, an £84m investment package to improve computing education in England.
The project will also be supported by WISE and Apps for Good.
With so many new opportunities and career paths, it is essential that we engage more girls in computer science at GCSE and A level so that they can fulfil their potential.
– Helen Wolaston, WISE
Helen Wolaston, chief executive of WISE, said: “With so many new opportunities and career paths, it is essential that we engage more girls in computer science at GCSE and A level so that they can fulfil their potential.
“WISE is excited to be working on this project, bringing our knowledge and experience of engaging girls in STEM to the programme and working towards evidence-based solutions that make a real difference to the number of girls choosing computing.”
Factors such as a lack of role models and a perceived lack of relevance to students’ future lives are often cited as barriers to girls’ engagement with computing in schools, and recent research from the University of Roehampton and the Royal Society has found that girls made up only 20% of candidates for GCSE computer science, and 10% for A-level computer science.
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The research project will respond to these and other challenges through a range of interventions and randomised control trials. The effectiveness of each intervention will be measured and used to help determine how best to support girls in studying computer science.
More information on the project and its scope can be found on the Raspberry Pi website here.