Building Interest in Science Subjects

A sustained effort at Glenalmond College to increase the interest of pupils - particularly girls - in STEM subjects is reaping rewards, according to Head of Physics, Dr Stephen Kinge.

Science Pic Girls
I'm pleased to say that the average intake of girls to Physics has slowly but steadily increased and in recent years girls have often outperformed the boys, with 50% achieving an A* at A-level last year.
There is no doubt that girls can perform very well in Physics as a subject - so what is behind the historic and well documented reluctance by girls to embrace this exciting subject which has so much relevance to modern life and a myriad of career opportunities?
From my own research it seems the negativity is very often founded on a viewpoint seeded to them by others, and not their own experience in class. 
I am afraid that as a society, and especially parents of girls, we have been guilty of perpetuating the myth that Physics is too difficult and that it will not help "get a job".
According to the Institute of Physics in 2016 only 1.9% of girls chose to study Physics beyond 16, and so gender equality in the STEM subjects begins before girls have even left home.
My anecdotal research into why girls have shied away from the sciences often includes monitoring the responses I receive when I introduce myself at parties and divulge I am a Physics teacher.
"Physics was too hard for me and none of my family 'get' Physics," are two of the most common responses I receive at parties.
At Glenalmond we are keen to tackle this and redress the imbalance and in recent years we have been proactively speaking to girls individually about studying Physics. We also inspire them about career opportunities in science, and the way we teach has been adapted to become more reflective.
I am confident these efforts will continue to turn the tide but it is vital they are reinforced by parents at home in discussions about subjects and careers.
Girls have an exciting future in the sciences but they they need to be allowed to explore their own destiny without family and friends passing the baton of gender bias from one generation to the next.
Times have changed. Just because back when relatives were taught Physics they couldn't understand Hooke's Law, it doesn't mean girls today can't do so with ease and go on to enjoy fantastic science-based careers.