Girls choosing science was the hot topic at Speech Day when renowned scientist Dr Anne Edwards spoke to pupils, parents and staff on Thursday 8th July. Guest of honour Dr Edwards, who received the British Empire Medal in this year’s New Year’s honours list, spoke about her own scientific career in plant microbiology and described the excitement and flexibility of careers in science. Her inspirational story complemented Mr Crump’s speech, which touched on the national debate about girls being under-represented on university science courses. Mr Crump explained that girls’ schools like Hethersett were bucking this trend, with many more girls choosing science A Levels than in their co-educational counterparts. He told the audience that the Girls’ Schools’ Association (GSA) is championing the cause of girls in science and that a local GSA initiative had led to a ‘women in science’ conference in Cambridge attended by school girls from the state and independent sectors of education.
Dr Edwards, who has been widely featured in the national media for her pioneering work on ash die-back, the latest scourge to hit our native woodland, presented prizes and awards to pupils from Years 2 to 13 at the school. Awards achieved included Bronze, Silver and Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards as well as a wide range of music, drama, sporting and academic achievements. After the ceremony she spoke informally with pupils, parents and staff and said, “It has been a lovely day: it was an honour to be invited and to be surrounded by young people demonstrating such an impressive range of talent and achievement.”