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ENTHUSE Partnerships: inspiring girls into STEM

Published: Jun 19, 2019 3 min read

STEM learning

Paula Cil talking at the ENTHUSE Partnership Day 2019

To coincide with International Women in Engineering Day, STEM Learning welcomed schools and colleges from across the UK to the National STEM Learning Centre to launch 13 new ENTHUSE Partnerships, specifically aimed at tackling the inequalities in gender representation in STEM subjects in their schools.

ENTHUSE Partnerships bring schools and colleges together to work collaboratively, with support from STEM Learning, to develop an intensive two-year programme to raise aspiration and achievement in STEM.

These Partnerships improve academic attainment and enjoyment in STEM, especially for those facing disadvantage, with primary pupils eligible for free school meals increasing attainment relative to national expectations in science.

Mick McCarthy, Head of Technology at King Edward VI Handsworth School for Girls, said:

“I want to be able to prepare my students for the 4th industrial revolution by showcasing how design and new technologies can improve lives. The world of design is underrepresented by minorities and females, our cohort is all female and culturally diverse and so we have the unique opportunity to inspire these groups to pursue careers in this field.”

Donna McLaughlin, Physics teacher at Archbishop Blanch School commented:

“As a young female physics teacher I am extremely passionate about engaging girls in physics. It is my aim over the upcoming years to change our students' perceptions of physics and to make it more relevant to their daily lives.

"I want to encourage our girls to understand that physics is not the stereotypical 'boring and difficult' science and instead to be excited by physics and to be informed of the potential career paths. I want to move away from the typical examples used in physics and to show them the physics around us."

Yvonne Baker, Chief Executive of STEM Learning, who is herself a leading advocate for women in STEM said:

“Through engineering, you can change lives and make a difference to the things that really matter to people – this is something that particularly inspires women’s choice of career. It certainly works for me.

"From writing STEM-related job applications that appeal to women, to becoming role models ourselves, we can all do a lot in our everyday lives to change things and make a difference to other women. The schools and colleges involved in this new cohort of ENTHUSE Partnerships will make a lasting difference to the lives of the young women they teach.”

The teachers were joined on the day by Paula Cil, an RAF Engineer, who was awarded New STEM Ambassador of the Year at the 2017 STEM Inspiration Awards.

Paula spoke about her experiences as a female Engineer and encouraged the schools to make use of STEM Ambassadors to inspire their pupils. There are over 30,000 STEM Ambassadors across the UK and 43% of them are women.

Find out more about ENTHUSE Partnerships

Over the past year, STEM Learning has worked with charities and employers to create 71 new ENTHUSE Partnership, supporting 370 schools and benefiting around 280,000 young people.