Celebrating Maths and Science Week

Celebrating Maths and Science Week

Friday 6 September

Over the last few weeks, we have celebrated both Mathematics Week and Science Week with a number of creative activities embraced by our girls, including inspiring messages broadening our girls thinking about post-schooling options in the fields of Mathematics and Science. For members of our community that follow our student Instagram account, you will have seen some wonderful moments in time over the last few weeks, highlighting the important role that Mathematics and Science has in our lives and in our classrooms.

We have a long tradition of achieving excellence in Mathematics and Science and our dedicated, highly skilled and passionate teachers play a significant part in nurturing our girls’ interests, passions and achievements in these areas. Globally, the disciplines of Mathematics and Science tend to attract less females than males, both at a secondary and tertiary level. I love that St Hilda’s is defying this trend!

Science and Mathematics is an important part of our compulsory School curriculum. Of interest, this year we have 53 girls in Year 11 and 45 girls in Year 12 studying Mathematics Methods. These numbers are amongst the highest for girls’ schools in WA. We have 78 girls in Year 11 and 56 in Year 12 studying Chemistry. In WA, the average Year 12 participation rate in Chemistry is 19%. At St Hilda’s the participation rate is 43%. The average participation rate in WA for Human Biology is 19%. At St Hilda’s the participation rate is 43% in Year 12.

Last year all Science subjects (Human Biology, Chemistry, Psychology, Physics and Biology) finished in the top schools. The combination of high participation rates and achievement in Science is worth noting and celebrating.

St Hilda’s was proud to be one of the first schools to incorporate an engineering themed course (Year 9 Science and Design). We recently had 32 Year 9 and 10 girls participate in the Science and Engineering Challenge at Claremont (organised by the University of Newcastle). We have also had Year 12 girls previously participate in the Exploring Engineering Showcase and Girls in Engineering excursions at UWA. This has continued with a further STEM focus in areas like our Year 7 Design course. We have many graduates in the last two years who have entered Engineering courses at University and it has been listed in our top 10 most popular university options several times.

It has been wonderful for our girls to hear inspiring keynote addresses at our Student’s Assembly on Bay View Campus from women who are flourishing in career pathways in Mathematics and Science, embracing career opportunities that they didn’t even know existed when they were at St Hilda’s. Their careers have taken them all over the world and opened up opportunities they never dreamed possible.

Keeping our girls pathways open, as they navigate their way through electives and subjects choices in their senior years, is central to discussions. On meeting with a parent recently, a comment was shared with me in regards to our girls’ subject choices, pathways and options at the senior level of the school. The ‘talk’ was in regards to the school not allowing girls to pursue their subjects and courses of choice, in an effort to protect the School’s ATAR results. I was disappointed to hear this ‘talk’, given that it couldn’t be further from the truth.

St Hilda’s is proudly non-selective and each girl is supported and encouraged in her choice of subjects. As educators, recommendations based on previous attainment are provided to parents and girls, however ultimately the academic pathway is chosen by our girls and supported by both the school and parents.

I would like to share with you some ATAR data collated since 2012. This data highlights the percentage of girls who chose to attempt an ATAR pathway.

 

Year

Students

ATAR

%

2018

141

135

96%

2017

147

138

94%

2016

139

132

95%

2015

145

138

95%

2014

76

75

99%

2013

139

134

96%

2012

121

117

97%

 

A percentage of our girls choose a combination of General and Certificate options and achieve exceptionally well in these courses. We are equally as proud of these girls who juggle both academic and practical components embracing real life work experiences, outside the comfort of St Hilda’s.

An immense amount of independence and self-discipline is required for all courses at Year 11 and 12.  Personal excellence, regardless of course choice, is all about our girls’ embracing their strengths, remaining committed, working hard and exceeding their expectations. I commend our senior girls’ focus and maturity as they approach their final weeks of scheduled classes in preparation for their final examinations, recognising that hard work correlates with personal excellence.

READ MORE PRINCIPAL'S THOUGHTS HERE.