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Cheney one of UK’s top schools for smashing the gender barrier
A CITY school has been named one of England’s best for students taking subjects traditionally studied by young people of the opposite gender.
Headington’s Cheney School is among the top 28 for bucking the trend for A-level subjects that tend to be popular with one gender.
The Institute of Physics looked at the take-up of male-led physics, maths and economics and female-led biology, English and psychology.
Headteacher Jolie Kirby said: “We have inspirational teachers who act as positive role models within the school and they work hard to make all subjects accessible to every child.
“Here at Cheney School we have high expectations of all our students, regardless of their gender.”
Physics, maths and philosophy student Alice Walker, 17, said: “I think it is mostly a perception thing in that most people see physics and maths as being more open to boys but that is just not the case in our school.
“Girls are encouraged just as much as boys and none of us realised this was an issue in other schools until this report came out.”
Year 12 student Billie Meadowcroft, 16, of Iffley, added: “It is a funny way of looking at it, but I suppose in classrooms you do sometimes see how things can easily be taken over by boys.
“Like anything, it is easily overcome with teaching styles etc, but I can see why, in physics in particular, why people might think it is more of a boys’ subject.
“In our school they are generally quite good at encouraging girls.
“Our teachers probably know it is an issue and take active steps to deal with it.”
The report, which draws on the National Pupil Database, said about one in five schools are tackling the issue.
Institute director of education and science Professor Peter Main said: “For the first time, the full picture of the effect that gender stereotypes have on students’ subject choices is becoming clear and the results are very worrying.
“We are highlighting these findings to encourage schools to think seriously about gender balance.
“Leaving these stereotypes unchallenged creates unfair and unnecessary barriers and stops students achieving their full potential.”
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