Fixing broken bones brings STEM careers to life for girls at Rastrick High School

Year 9 girls at Rastrick High School enjoying a STEM lesson delivered by DePuy Synthes
Year 9 girls at Rastrick High School enjoying a STEM lesson delivered by DePuy Synthes

A series of workshops exploring the design of surgical instruments using a surgery simulator and utilising everyday objects to fix broken bones has helped bring careers in STEM (science, technology engineering, mathematics) to life for girls at Rastrick High School.

The workshops were commissioned by the school to encourage more female students to consider studying STEM subjects at GCSE and A level.

More than 120 girls in years eight and nine took part in the workshops, delivered by DePuy Synthes, a franchise of orthopaedic and neurosurgery companies owned by Johnson & Johnson.

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Steve Evans, headteacher at Rastrick High School, said: “Girls typically perform as well as boys in STEM subjects at GCSE level, but fewer choose to study them at A level and university, meaning that women are underrepresented in STEM occupations.

“There’s no substitute for people working in real STEM jobs speaking to students and showing them how the subjects they study at school are applied in the real world.

“We hope that these workshops, delivered by those already working successful STEM careers, will help the students build confidence in areas including maths and physics and encourage more girls to carry on with STEM subjects post-sixteen.”

Activities included learning how engineers and doctors work together to design solutions to fix broken bones, before working as a team to fix a broken femur using everyday supplies and presenting their solutions a team of professional engineers to establish if they would be suitable for use on patients.

Year Eight student, Isabelle Fletcher, said: “It's important not to miss an opportunity just because it's not expected or seen as traditional.

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“There are so many careers that will need STEM skills in the future, from infrastructure to renewable energies.

"The team from DuPuy Synthes showed us how choosing STEM subjects can help people – whether that's by developing a new surgical instrument or in other ways. STEM skills really make a difference.”