Pushing girls to study physics isn’t equality | Comment

Katharine Birbalsingh, the controversial head teacher who also chairs the Social Mobility Commission, has again found herself in the eye of the storm. And again, the onslaught says more about her critics than it does about her.

Asked by the Commons science and technology select committee why only 16 per cent of her physics A-level students are girls, even though they constitute more than 60 per cent of those studying biology, chemistry and maths at that level, she replied that one reason might be girls’ reluctance to do the “hard maths” that physics requires.

Cue immediate meltdown. Rachel Youngman, deputy chief executive of the Institute of Physics, accused Birbalsingh of perpetuating “outdated stereotypes” as “physics is for everyone, regardless of their background or gender.” Dame

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