A Review of Opening Doors Conference Institute of Physics: London, UK

Liz Whitelegg
2015 unpublished
REVIEW For the past decade the Institute of Physics-the UK's professional society for physicists, has undertaken a range of projects to investigate the reasons for the low participation by girls in physics at secondary (11-18 years) schools in the UK. The projects have ranged from a review of the research literature on the topic (Murphy and Whitelegg, 2006), good practice guides for teachers (Engaging with Girls, 2010), professional development workshops, a review and analysis of national
more » ... s of national statistics of participation (It's Different for Girls, 2012) and Closing Doors (2014). The 2012 report highlighted the startling statistic that half the mixed-sex, state-funded schools in England did not send any girls to do physics A-level and that girls attending independent, single-sex schools were four-times more likely to choose to study physics than those attending state-funded schools, which are the majority of schools in the UK. (The publications referred to above can be downloaded from the IOP's gender balance web pages.) The final report of the latest contributor to the IOP's initiatives in this area, the Opening Doors project, was launched at a recent conference held in London on 20 th October, 2015. This conference reported on the results of the year-long project that involved working with 10 state-funded, secondary schools in the south and southeast of England. The aim of the project was to examine the culture in these schools from a gender perspective; school culture having been identified by the Closing Doors project (2014) as a key factor influencing students' subject choice.