More girls choose the Sciences at Truro and Penwith College

Post-GCSE Science subjects have long been considered a more male orientated course choice, but thanks to its supportive and focussed learning environments, Truro and Penwith College now has more girls studying traditional Science subjects than boys.

“The College in an environment where girls know they can succeed,” says Chemistry student Libby Holmes.

Chemistry is considered one of the core STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects and at Truro College there are already significantly more girls than boys studying the subject, while in Biology, there are over twice as many girls studying the subject than boys. 

Physics is the only science subject where there are currently more males than females but the proportion of girls studying Physics is increasing, in a subject that at one time might have been almost exclusively male.

Students Libby Holmes from Truro, Flo Bawden from Trispen, Sophie Maund from St Agnes and Lilly Appleby from Looe are some of the ambitious female students studying Chemistry at Truro and Penwith College.

Libby and Sophie both plan to go on to do Veterinary Science at university, and Lilly intends to do Medicine, all competitive subjects for which Chemistry is essential. Flo hopes to do Psychology, for which Chemistry is a strongly supportive subject.

Libby says: “I think it’s good that girls are so well represented. There are a lot of female science lecturers here, too. The College is a place I know I can succeed. There are only a few boys in my biology class, so in some classes you can really see the number of girls. I hope to do Veterinary Science at Nottingham or another uni.”

Lilly added: “I came to Truro College as it’s the best place to do the A Levels I knew I needed for Medicine. I didn’t like Chemistry until I came here, I had to do it for Medicine, but the College has changed my mind. Now I really like it.”

Chemistry is often called the ‘central science’ due to its importance in the science pantheon and it is a key subject for many competitive careers, including Medicine.

Truro and Penwith College provides over half of all post-16 STEM-related courses in Cornwall, is the largest A Level provider in Cornwall, the only provider of the IB Diploma in Cornwall, has an impressive track-record of success in Chemistry and STEM and was awarded the prestigious Platinum Science Mark Award, being the first provider in Cornwall to achieve this.

Students regularly win gold and silver medals in the Cambridge Chemistry Challenge and Royal Society of Chemistry UK Chemistry Olympiad.  In 2018 the College was the National Chemistry Champion in the Royal Society of Chemistry Schools’ Analyst Competition, the first time a state school or college had won in 20 years.

Ways to study Science at Truro and Penwith College, from 16 to 18 after GCSE and before University, include at Truro: A Levels in Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Science, Geology and Physics (students usually choose three A Levels), Extended Diplomas in Analytical and Forensic Science or Biomedical Science, or the International Baccalaureate (IB); and at Penwith: A Levels in Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Science, and Physics, or the Extended Diploma in Biomedical Science.

Rosie Maguire, STEM Coordinator at Truro and Penwith College, said: "We are so proud of our representation of girls in Science, and all of our Science students and staff as a whole.

“We aim to provide an environment in which our students can thrive and achieve. Our focus throughout our students’ time with us is then to support them going forward into a career in Science. The vast array of careers our students go onto from studying Science is endless."

Find out more about Science at Truro and Penwith College here and more about STEM at the College here