Girls still aren’t switched on to STEM

  • One in six pupils don’t know which subjects to take at GSCE, A Level or university stage in order to enhance their future career prospects
  • Two thirds of parents describe their understanding of STEM subjects as ‘average’ or ‘poor’

Contrary to common perceptions, STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) are among pupils’ favourites at school, according to new research released today.

But there’s a clear gap between subjects pupils enjoy themselves, and the ones that they think are most popular among their classmates, with students under the impression that their fellow classmates prefer subjects such as PE, drama and music.

The research, which polled 2,000 children aged between 8 and 15, finds that whilst maths is the most popular overall, it’s still a much more popular subject for boys than girls (46% compared to 34%). It’s a similar story for ICT/computing, which is almost twice as popular with boys as it is girls (40% compared to 24%). English was girls’ favourite subject (42% compared to 28% of boys), indicating a gender imbalance when it comes to more technical subjects.

Further research by E.ON among children aged between 16 and 18 shows the importance of keeping STEM subjects enjoyable for both boys and girls in order to encourage them to choose these options at GCSE, A Level and university stage.

That’s because according to the research pupils in this age group are most likely to progress their studies in subjects that they either enjoy (71%) or are best at (57%), rather than choosing subjects they think will support their future career paths (29%).

To watch a video of Maggie Philbin explaining why there may be a lack in clarity amongst young people when it comes to choosing subjects that will enhance their future career paths: click here