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How we’re striving to get extra women into computing

Oliver Brotherhood, Curriculum Lead for Computing and Laptop Science at Penrice Academy, discusses the significance of adopting a whole-school strategy to addressing gender imbalance in laptop science.

The gender imbalance

I started educating computing 4 years in the past, after transitioning from working within the tech trade. Laptop science is usually a nice accelerator of social mobility, and I wish to equip all younger individuals at our academy with a skillset that may allow them to take up the alternatives the topic provides.

Since I began educating, I’ve all the time seen an apparent gender imbalance in computing – my present 12 months 11 cohort has no women, and our 12 months 10 cohort has simply three. We’ve trialed completely different initiatives over the previous couple of years to attempt to deal with this, with various levels of success. The variety of women partaking with the topic has elevated however to nowhere close to the extent that we want to see.

The ‘I Belong’ programme

After finishing the Nationwide Centre for Training’s I Belong: encouraging women into laptop science programme, it grew to become clear that tackling gender imbalance doesn’t simply consequence out of a singular initiative. It requires a complete college strategy with buy-in from senior management, adjustments to the strategy to educating, and a concentrate on rising the visibility of girls who research and work in computing.

How we’re striving to get extra women into computing

Since finishing I Belong, our division has targeted on three key areas:

  • We’ve modified our classroom shows to extend the visibility of the various vary of people that work in computing and the big variety of roles they do. We’ve additionally created posters of individuals presently learning computing to exhibit across the college.
  • We’ve developed our key stage 3 curriculum and have applied various challenge based mostly studying models. Via this we’re aiming to extend women’ confidence and self-efficacy throughout the topic, significantly these with much less prior expertise.
  • We’ve enhanced our provide of extracurricular computing actions. We presently provide two golf equipment: one targeted on key stage 3, that introduces college students to a collection of computing-based tasks, and the opposite targeted on key stage 4, that additional develops college students’ programming expertise by a collection of team-based programming tasks.

Wanting ahead, we plan to implement a peer mentoring programme which can allow college students contemplating taking laptop science as a GCSE choice to ask inquiries to somebody already learning the topic. We hope this may additional embed a tradition of computing throughout our faculty and create a way of belonging throughout the topic.

A complete college dedication  

Computing provides a world of alternative to younger individuals; it’s paramount these alternatives are open and accessible to everybody, no matter gender. Working to repair the gender imbalance in computing requires dedication not simply from those that train it, however from all these working and learning in a faculty surroundings.


Go to the Nationwide Centre for Computing Training web site to seek out out extra in regards to the I Belong programme. It’s free to all state-funded faculties and schools, and gives sources, coaching and implementation assist to assist get extra women into laptop science.



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