1/2 of all state schools have no girls sitting physics A level

(392 Posts)
Himalaya Wed 03-Oct-12 08:46:52


Just listening on the radio. sad

Thoughts? Experience? Ideas?

EmmelineGoulden Wed 03-Oct-12 09:00:18

Half of all co-ed state schools. Girls from single sex schools much (150%) more likely to study A-level physics than their co-ed counterparts.

ramonaquimby Wed 03-Oct-12 09:03:12

coed secondary schools should think about offering single sex classes for subjects like Physics. they would have a much higher take up - am sure I've seen stats like that in the past.
imo of course

Himalaya Wed 03-Oct-12 09:05:34

Thing is physics is such a minority subject at A level anyway, not sure many schools could run two streams?

Maybe earlier on, before girls drop out of it?

Bonsoir Wed 03-Oct-12 09:08:15

The really big problem with physics is that it needs to be introduced much earlier on in the curriculum (early primary years) before all the misconceptions set in that are so hard to unlearn.

seeker Wed 03-Oct-12 09:09:13

What are the figures for private schools?

mnistooaddictive Wed 03-Oct-12 09:09:57

I was taught physics in a single sex class in a mixed school in the 80s. I hated it. To make it viable, our class was mixed ability and a lot of us felt frustrated at being held back by the slow pace of teaching due to some if the class not understanding. I would never choose it voluntarily. It may be interesting to see how many schools have no boys studying physics as I think it may also be higher than we think.

mnistooaddictive Wed 03-Oct-12 09:11:19

Bonsoir, that in interesting. My dd did lots of physics in tece

mnistooaddictive Wed 03-Oct-12 09:12:39

Sorry, try that again. She did lots of physics in reception and loved it. Magnets and iron fillings, forces of motion etc. I would expect her to love physics though as she is like me!

CaseyShraeger Wed 03-Oct-12 09:13:56

How many boys do those schools have doing Physics A-level? It's not a great statistic, no doubt about that, but that would help identify how bad it is.

I didn't do A-level Physics because no one at O-level stage could explain to me properly what a volt actually was. It did click for me when doing A-level Chemistry, but it was a bit late by then. Also because I didn't want to drop History and already had Maths/Chemistry/Biology locked in. With the benefit of hindsight, I should probably have done Physics instead of Maths. And our Physics teacher smelled funny, which to be fair isn't really a matter for education policy.

Slubberdegullion Wed 03-Oct-12 09:14:26

Is it still the case that if you do physics A-level you are strongly recommended to do maths as well?

mnistooaddictive Wed 03-Oct-12 09:16:06

Yes it is slubber.

Slubberdegullion Wed 03-Oct-12 09:16:55

Interesting Casey. I did physics without maths A-level and in hindsight I should have either both or neither.

Bonsoir Wed 03-Oct-12 09:18:28

DD (7) has a great German dolls house and we are going to wire it for electricity this winter - she is very keen and it will be a great introduction to physics.

Slubberdegullion Wed 03-Oct-12 09:18:32

Thanks mnistooaddictive.

How many A-levels do young people sit these days? (parent of primary school dc)

mnistooaddictive Wed 03-Oct-12 09:19:32

The majority of students do 4 AS levels and then 3 at A2.

whistlestopcafe Wed 03-Oct-12 09:19:50

I agree with Bonsoir. We didn't cover any science subjects at primary school at all.

Bonsoir Wed 03-Oct-12 09:23:22

The biggest challenge to wiring DD's doll house is going to be the instructions (in German...). My German is up to ordering the bits we need online. DP has the physics skills (in French). Ho hum. We need a German and French speaking wiring assistant!

CaseyShraeger Wed 03-Oct-12 09:24:02

I'd done AO maths after O-level, which I think would have covered a fair bit of the Maths requirement.

Actually actually what I should have done given that I wound up doing a degree subject completely unrelated to A-levels was to drop both Maths and Physics and do English and History alongside the Biology and Chemistry. But I thought I might like to do a science degree at the time.

shock No science at all at primary school? When did you go to school, if you don't mind me asking?

We did loads of science, partly because we were lucky enough to have one teacher whose degree was in science (Chemistry, IIRC).

I nearly did Physics A Level but got put off because we were told we'd do the syllabus that focussed more on electronics and there was a more interesting-sounding one that the boys' school did. Then the year below me they organized for girls who wanted to do that syllabus to swap in with the boys' school classes! So I guess they bucked this trend of girls in co-ed situations not going for physics.

Does anyone know what the gender distribution of teachers is?

margerykemp Wed 03-Oct-12 09:28:33

Is there any point taking physics though if you don't want to do a physics degree/become a physics teacher?

Maybe we need to change tact and value 'feminine' subjects and encourage boys to take them rather than pushing girls into highly valued 'masculine' subjects?

Bonsoir Wed 03-Oct-12 09:30:04

Physics is a fantastic subject with masses of real life applications for everyone. Sadly, because of the way it is introduced at school (too late), the window of opportunity for getting to grips with it is largely lost to most children.

seeker Wed 03-Oct-12 09:30:41

"Is there any point taking physics though if you don't want to do a physics degree/become a physics teacher?"

Because physics is exciting, fascinating, wonderful, magical, spiritual, mind boggling..........and is helping to understand the enormous questions in life!

Why would you not want to take physics!!!!!!!!

maillotjaune Wed 03-Oct-12 09:34:26

Margery yes there is a point. Physics helped with the physical chemistry when I did A level, as opposed to organic chemistry. And it was just very interesting <geek>.

More generally as I start to look at secondaries now DS1 is in Year 5 I am depressed by the fact that in our local academic, OFSTED outstanding comp, far more kids do A levels that I don't remember existing when I was at school rather than the "Traditional" subjects, including physics.

Himalaya Wed 03-Oct-12 09:36:42

Here's an article with a few more stats. Boys are 4x more likely to do physics than girls, it doesn't say what % of schools have no one sitting A level physics.

It does have an interesting side note about Sciencegrrl - initiative set up by scientists incensed by that stupid Europen Commission video.

Margery shock that you should think understanding the basic forces underlying are world is inherently masculine, and we should stick to bigging up "feminine" subjects (what would that be? Knitting? Deportment?)

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