Girls get a taste for computer coding after invite from uni

MK girls at computing lesson at University of Buckingham
MK girls at computing lesson at University of Buckingham

Talented female maths students are feeling inspired to investigate all the options for their future education following a visit to the University of Buckingham.

A group of 13 of the brightest girls in Years 8 and 9 at Sir Herbert Leon Academy spent a morning at the university, studying coding and maths. The students were invited by the Applied Computing Department, as part of the institution’s endeavours to encourage more girls to study computing and maths to degree level and beyond.

Head of Applied Computing Dr Harin Sellahewa said: “More than 90% of students who are studying Computing at GCE A-level are male. A similar gender gap exists in computing courses at University, which has an adverse impact on the IT sector due to lack of diversity. It is important to get girls interested in coding from a young age.

“We offered a coding taster and I was so impressed by how quickly they learnt to code. We plan to organise several coding tasters and hackathons during 2017 to promote the study of computing at school, especially among girls. We want to show that coding is fun, exciting and it is not something to be left to boys alone.”

Pupil Bethany McGowan, 13, said: “It’s been fantastic. I’ve learnt much more about coding and I’ve learnt some maths too. I like maths and it’s been really fun. There are actually quite a lot of similarities between the skills needed for maths and English so girls that like subjects like English can actually also enjoy doing maths if they give it a chance. They shouldn’t be put off. Maths and computing really isn’t too challenging.”