STEM subjects take centre stage at independent school for girls 

October 3, 2018

Westfield School in Gosforth has been focused on helping to shift the gender imbalance in STEM by encouraging girls to have an interest in the specialist subjects from a young age

Leading Westfield School’s drive to give girls the confidence to pursue traditionally male-dominated STEM subjects and careers are Junior House science coordinator Karen Meeson and mathematics teacher and STEM coordinator Fiona Swift.

Karen says: “Nationally, there is no denying that women are under-represented in STEM, and schools have an opportunity to engage young girls in these subjects to help inspire the next generation of scientists, engineers and beyond.”

Among the initiatives adopted by the independent day school to encourage more engagement in these subjects is STEM Week. Last year, tech enthusiast ‘Technology Tom’ taught the youngsters how to craft land yachts and cams in a workshop, showing the components needed to make a moving mechanism, while Hui Yan, a development engineer from Soil Machine Dynamics, held a question and answer session followed by a design masterclass to create an underwater vehicle.

Fiona adds: “STEM Week helps focus the girls on the diversity that STEM subjects bring. We aim to shine a spotlight on how exciting they can be; we take experiments beyond the classroom and set practical projects led by experts working in the industry here in the region.”

In Westfield School’s Senior House, girls also received a fun and practical masterclass creating ‘fireworks’ (the labs and fireworks activity was featured on www.madeintyneandwear.com).

The school also has a fantastic relationship with companies such as P&G, Northern Powergrid, Akzo Nobel and Newcastle University, where female representatives come in to talk about their role and the routes they took to their chosen STEM career.

“We feel that it is important that we spread our STEM ethos outside of school and run two external STEM events where we invite schools in our community to join us for the day and take part in a fun schedule of interactive and inspiring activities,” adds Fiona.

Westfield School is an independent day school for girls aged four to 18-years-old, and is situated in the heart of Gosforth. This year, it celebrated a year of outstanding exam results, with nearly 60 per cent of students achieving A*- B grades at A Level while 42 per cent of all GCSE entries were awarded 9-7 (A*/A).

What is so special about Westfield?

“It’s our ability to really get to know a student very quickly.  We do more than just ‘teach’ a subject; we can tailor-make a programme that suits the individual. We don’t believe education to be an off the shelf product – our teaching style, small class sizes and ethos allow us to bring out the best in the girls. That’s why our girls make better progress and achieve more than they ever expected,” says headmaster Neil Walker.

Westfield School
The school is now taking registrations for reception entry and Y7 entry for 2019. There are also limited places available in other years. An Autumn Open Day will take place at the school on Saturday, October 13, 10am-1pm. For more information, visit: www.westfield.newcastle.sch.uk.
0191 255 3980

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