Westfield School is helping to shift the gender imbalance in STEM by encouraging girls to have an interest in the specialist subjects from a young age.
The independent day school for girls in central Gosforth runs a dynamic science, technology, engineering and mathematics curriculum year-round, and annually dedicates a week to celebrate STEM. This year’s STEM Week ran from 19 February 2018.
The school’s Junior House pupils from as young as three years old explored all areas of STEM, enjoying guest visits and experiments.
Tech enthusiast Technology Tom taught the youngsters how to craft land yachts and cams in a workshop showing the components needed to make a moving mechanism. Hui Yan, a development engineer from Soil Machine Dynamics, held a question and answer session followed by a design masterclass to create an underwater vehicle.
Leading the school’s drive to give girls the confidence to pursue traditionally male-dominated subjects and careers are Junior House science coordinator Karen Meeson and mathematics teacher and STEM coordinator Fiona Swift.
Karen said: “Nationally there is no denying that women are underrepresented in STEM, and schools have an opportunity to engage young girls in these subjects to help inspire the next generation of scientists, engineers and beyond.”
Additionally, pupils became rocket scientists investigating streamlining during blast off, and mastering the correct mixture to form a fuel, before working in groups to build capsules to transport eggs without them breaking during touchdown after being launched.
Fiona added: “Junior House STEM Week championed the diversity that these subjects bring. We aim to shine a spotlight on how exciting they can be, so took experiments beyond the classroom and set practical projects led by experts working in the industry here in the region. We also have some exciting plans for our Senior House pupils later this month.
“Each year our STEM Weeks become even more creative and we hope they contribute towards an increase in women working in these disciplines in the future.”
Westfield School is an independent day school for girls aged from three to 18-years-old in the heart of Gosforth, and was founded in 1960.
For more information on Westfield School, or to book an appointment for a tour, visit www.westfield.newcastle.sch.uk.