The Opening Doors Charter

In October 2015, the Institute of Physics published Opening Doors, a guide to good practice in countering gender stereotyping in secondary education, based on a series of site visits to schools.

The IOP is continuing this work by investigating an Opening Doors (OD) kitemark for schools, analogous to the Athena SWAN/Project Juno schemes that have proved so successful in the university sector. The intention is that the scheme would operate in a similar manner to Athena SWAN (AS), with a published set of principles and guidelines, different levels of achievement (e.g. bronze, silver and gold) and written submissions judged by expert panels. One difference between AS and OD would be that the latter would be concerned exclusively with gender stereotyping amongst pupils and would not consider staff issues directly.

During the 2016/2017 academic year, the Opening Doors Charter pilot worked with a small group of schools to investigate the impact of a quality mark on whole school gender equality. It was run in partnership with King’s College London and in close collaboration with UCL and ECU. The pilot was based on a provisional set of principles and guidelines derived from the OD guide to good practice. A mentor worked closely with the schools to help them understand the purpose of the scheme and to work towards a draft submission. The output from the pilot will be an improved set of principles and guidelines together with a clear, streamlined process that will enable OD to be rolled out across the country without leading to a disproportionate administrative burden on schools.