More science appliance for girls, says teacher

Sir Henry Floyd Grammar School physics teacher Julie Davis
Sir Henry Floyd Grammar School physics teacher Julie Davis

A teacher says women physicists need to be more high profile to attract girls to take up the subject.

A recent report by the Institute of Physics indicated that 46% of all girls and mixed schools did not send a single female student to sit an A-level in the subject in 2011.

Sir Henry Floyd Grammar School physics teacher, Julie Davis, said female pupils could do with more role models in the subject.

She said: “Having female role models is one thing which makes a big difference.

“You can’t make a difference to the person in front of you without female physicists.

“There are people out there the same as anywhere.

“You can’t get away from the fact that it’s a male dominated world.”

Mrs Davis, who has spent 22 years teaching physics A-level in state, grammar and single sex schools, added she was unaware of the problem until it was highlighted it to her.

“The difficulty for me is to be honest as a female physics teacher I was not put off doing it.

“Personally I did it because it was either right or wrong. If you got it, you got it.

“It explains the real world. I had so many questions, like ‘why is the sky blue?’ It answers the questions of life.”

In her two A-level classes (there are three overall) the teacher said she only had three female pupils. However, she did add there were more girls in the other class.

Mrs Davis said there were noticeable differences between boys and girls in the subject.

“The boys are much more keen on giving you their answer. The girls who choose to do physics, they think about it much more and consider their answers.”

Mrs Davis, who joined the Floyd this academic year, added that when it came to results there was little to separate the sexes.

“The girls who choose to do it, they are the same as any other standard.

Student, Charlie Markham, 16, said: “My best and most extensive physics teachers were female. It’s clear to me that my female teachers of physics have as much passion as my male teachers yet are not recognised or famous amongst the world of physics.

“I believe this could be because many capable female physicists with degrees are led into teaching rather than the front of founding theoretical field.”