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STEM Subjects: Females

Question for Department for Education

UIN 53388, tabled on 21 September 2022

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to encourage more women to take up STEM qualifications.

Answered on

28 September 2022

To ensure a strong pipeline of qualified students into science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) areas, the department has committed substantial spending on mathematics, digital and technical education. This includes funding the Stimulating Physics Network which provides tailored support to schools to increase rates of progression to physics A level and funding an Inclusion in Schools project, delivered by the Association for Science Education, which is designed to increase the uptake of A level physics from students in underrepresented groups, including girls. The department has also funded an £84 million programme to improve computing teaching and participation at GCSE and A level, particularly amongst girls.

Additionally, the department has funded research programmes to investigate ways to tackle gender balance in STEM subjects, including the Improving Gender Balance national research trial for physics and the Gender Balance in Computing Programme. The computing research, led by the Raspberry Pi Foundation, has now concluded and its findings will be published in due course.

The department has introduced T Levels as a high-quality technical alternative to A levels. The current T Levels in Science and Digital, as well as the upcoming T Levels in Engineering and Manufacturing, will provide opportunities for all students to study STEM-related subjects. To challenge stereotypes which may hold young people back, including gender stereotypes, we are using T Level ambassadors to showcase a wide range of voices from those already studying T levels, including girls taking STEM-related T Levels.