Celebrating Math’s and Science Week

As Maths week concludes and Science week begins, we are delighted to have the opportunity to showcase Mathematics…

As Maths week concludes and Science week begins, we are delighted to have the opportunity to showcase Mathematics and Science at St Hilda’s.

I’m Cora Algie and I believe I have the best job in the world here at St Hilda’s as Head of Mathematics. I have the pleasure of sharing the subject I love with enthusiastic and diligent students. I lead a department of experienced, passionate teachers who work incredibly hard to help every girl thrive.  Before joining the teaching profession, I worked with PricewaterhouseCoopers, having studied Actuarial Science at university.  Whilst this was an interesting field, training new graduates led me to discover the joy of teaching. After returning to university, I taught at a range of schools in the UK before moving to Australia nearly seven years ago to become part of the St Hilda’s community.

And my name is Helen Walker, and I was privileged to start my teaching career at St Hilda’s, where, as a graduate Chemistry teacher, I saw firsthand the benefits of a girls’ school in helping girls to explore their abilities in Science free from gender stereotypes. Following nearly a decade of teaching in the UK, I boomeranged to St Hilda’s, taking on various roles before eventually being appointed Head of Science in 2021. It is a pleasure to spend every day with such a highly skilled and caring team of teachers who nurture our girls, fostering curiosity and a love of learning.

There is significant research to suggest that girls at single-sex schools are more likely to study advanced Mathematics, Chemistry and Physics and our student numbers studying these subjects in Years 11 and 12 reflect this international trend. In an all-girls environment, students develop the confidence to take risks and question information presented to develop their own understanding.

Our experienced subject specialists design our courses with girls in mind. Hands-on experience complements the theoretical concepts studied, and regular application to real-life situations ensures our courses remain relevant and interesting to the girls whilst developing skills for life, learning and work. Both departments offer a wealth of excursions and competitions at state, national and international levels, allowing our girls to shine in the co-curricular space.

Graduates of all-girls schools are far more likely to consider further study and future careers in STEM than girls attending a co-educational school. Peer role modelling is a key reason for this trend. It is very powerful for younger girls to see older students studying and excelling in multiple Mathematics and Science subjects and aspiring for places in STEM-related courses.

In 2021, over 40% of our graduates commenced STEM-related courses at university. Sharing our love of Science and Mathematics and seeing our students enjoying these subjects and igniting a spark that may result in them eventually becoming actuaries, data scientists, biochemists, mining engineers, or radiologists is why we love what we do.

Finally, we’d like to thank the members of our Math’s and Science Committees who grasped the opportunity to demonstrate student agency when planning events for Maths and Science Week.  During today’s assembly, we felt incredibly inspired by their presentations about the late NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson and microbiologist Elizabeth Blackburn. We’re confident that in a few years, we’ll be inviting them back to speak at assembly!

Helen Walker – Head of Science (L)
Core Algie – Head of Mathematics (R)