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Girls' schools do not ignore 'boy' subjects
HEADTEACHERS at two of Oxfordshire’s girls’ schools have hit back against claims that institutions like theirs need to place more emphasis on traditionally male subjects.
Lord Lucas, editor of the Good Schools’ Guide, said in a recent debate that girls’ schools needed to “up their game” in subjects such as sciences and engineering.
But Rachael Warwick, headteacher at Oxfordshire's only state girls’ school, Didcot Girls School, and Caroline Jordan, headteacher at Headington School, Oxford, said their schools already offered a strong foundation in the sciences.
Mrs Warwick said: “Following last year’s A-Level results, our highest performing girls were, almost to a person, going to do medicine or science at university. Girls aren’t just choosing to do these subjects, but being very successful in doing so.
“I think personally we have a particular advantage in being an all-girls school because we are really able to push science and engineering subjects.”
She said the school employed a PhD chemist in the science department who ran science clubs for girls of all ages, and worked closely with npower, which runs nearby Didcot Power Station, to run engineering days working with experts in the field.
And the school has recently invested in industrial standard laser cutters for product design classes, part-funded by npower.
She said: “We really push these subjects and because they are all girls, there is no sense it is a boy-dominated subject.
“In product design, for example, we have a really healthy group opting for that subject in GCSE next year – in my previous, mixed school, it was really only boys who chose that subject.”
At Headington, Mrs Jordan pointed out maths was the most popular subject in the school sixth form, with about 70 per cent of girls choosing to study it, and chemistry a close second.
She said physics and further maths were also in the top 10 most popular A-Level choices.
She adde: “Science has been a strong part of our curriculum for many years.
“Each year a great many of our students go on to study science at university, including medicine, engineering, biochemical engineering, natural sciences, chemistry and physics.”