Institute of Physics commends Ofsted’s stride towards gender equity

13 May 2015

Following Ofsted's publication on Tuesday 12 May of the numbers and proportions of girls and boys studying A level subjects in England, the Institute of Physics has issued a statement.

Ofsted

Charles Tracy, head of education at the Institute of Physics, said: “This is a very important publication from Ofsted. Annual publication of these statistics will enable schools to demonstrate how effectively they are challenging stereotypes and how well they are equitably supporting girls and boys in all their subject choices. The document provides a useful set of benchmarks and sends out an important message.”

Lauren McLeod, project coordinator for the Opening Doors project at the Institute of Physics, added that the gendered choices that students make are striking not just in physics, but in subjects like English, art and psychology.

"Children are making gendered subject choices early in their school careers, schools need to work to combat this culture.

"We are now running two projects, Improving Gender Balance and Opening Doors, with a view to supporting girls in physics through girls’ clubs and by working with teachers. We are also encouraging schools to consider how unconscious bias and gender stereotyping can affect their students’ choices in all subjects.

"We find that girls with equal or higher ability to their male peers are choosing other subjects over physics, and a variety of factors feed into this, such as it being seen as a male subject, quality of teaching, lack of awareness of possible career routes and being more susceptible to the idea that physics is more difficult than other subjects."