Get On With Science ( GOWS )

GOWS aimed to improve the delivery of science in schools in Wales and to encourage all pupils, especially girls, to pursue science subjects and consequently consider careers in the STEM ( science, technology, engineering and mathematics ) industries.


Photograph. Interior. School children playing with chemistry sets.

Science in schools in Wales

Funded by the Welsh Government’s Department of Education and Skills, and launched in January 2012 by Chwarae Teg & ContinYou Cymru.

GOWS aimed to improve the delivery of science in schools in Wales and to encourage all pupils, especially girls, to pursue science subjects and consequently consider careers in the STEM ( science, technology, engineering and mathematics ) industries.

The project also encouraged family involvement in science activity such as day trips to centres such as Techniquest and Techniquest Glyndŵr to provide holistic support to the pupils.

 

Significance of the project.

Improvements to the delivery of STEM subjects are key to economic growth and underpin many of the priority sectors identified in the Welsh Government’s Economic Renewal Strategy.

Job forecasts indicate that an increasing number of people qualified in STEM subjects will be necessary in the near future.

The GOWS project could therefore play a significant part in the economic growth of Wales and help create new generations of Women in science in Wales.

 

Why should pupils – particularly girls – ‘get on with science’?

The gender pay gap in Wales is still significant at £2,441 ( CMI, 2011 ) and much of this is due to the under-utilization of women’s skills.

The Careers Wales Pupil Destinations annual survey shows a tendency for young people to follow traditional career paths, resulting in women taking lower-paid jobs.

Jobs that are traditionally done by men – including many in the STEM sectors – tend to attract much higher salaries.

If more girls pursue careers in science and engineering, the pay gap should eventually decrease.

The Welsh Government has recently ( 2 August 2013 ) appointed a Chief Scientific Adviser for Wales – Professor John Harries – who will coordinate STEM initiatives and help reduce barriers in Wales.

Whilst there are a number of initiatives to promote the uptake of STEM subjects at Key Stage 3 and beyond, there are very few aimed at primary school children.

 

Earlier intervention is necessary.

Research suggests that earlier intervention is necessary to raise girls’ aspirations and expectations and to widen the scope of opportunities they may consider at later stages in their lives.

Enthusiasm for science amongst school children is likely to be developed and maintained with the involvement of families and the local community.

Furthermore, girls’ aspirations will be raised through access to positive role models, including the project Science Champions.

Related Chwarae Teg News article:

Welsh Women Scientists: Notable from past and present.