We were delighted this summer to learn that three of our girls – Megan Jones, Eleanor Thomas and Maya Wall had been awarded Arkwright Engineering Scholarships. They join our current Arkwright Scholar, Alanah O’Rourke, in the Sixth Form. This is a tremendous achievement for the girls; these scholarships are among the most prestigious in the UK. The Arkwright Scholarships Trust aims to identify, inspire and nurture future leaders in Engineering, Computing and technical (as opposed to aesthetic) Design. They award Engineering Scholarships, through a rigorous selection process, to high-calibre students in year 11. The Scholarships support students through their A Levels and encourage students to pursue Engineering, Computing or technical Design at university or through a higher-level apprenticeship and to take up careers in the field.

The work of the Arkwright Trust and other groups who promote careers in Engineering (such as the WISE Campaign and the Engineering Trust) has never been so important. This year’s report from Engineering UK on the state of the sector found it to be highly resilient, having a positive impact on Britain’s economy (for every new job in engineering, two more are created outside of the sector and every £1 Gross Value Added generated in engineering generates £1.45 elsewhere) however, the gap between supply and demand for people with engineering skills is still large enough to trigger widespread concern for the long term future. These shortages are compounded by insufficient numbers of young people, especially girls, choosing a career in engineering.

At BHHS we are working hard to encourage girls to keep studying STEM subjects and consider careers in a whole range of STEM areas and we are very pleased to have appointed Mrs Naomi Smith as the school’s STEM Consultant Teacher. Many of you will of course already be aware of her work in the Physics Department and with STEM club, but she now has a broad remit to promote Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics across both the Prep and Senior Schools. We’ve included some information about our STEM activities elsewhere in our Newsletter this week, but do speak to Mrs Smith if you’d like to know more.