Sydenham High girls are top of the techs!

Students from Sydenham High School have triumphed at an event to devise ways to inspire more women to get into technology.

The students were attending the second Girls’ Day School Trust (GDST) Digital Leaders’ Conference which brought together nearly 200 girls from schools across the GDST network.  The aim of the event was to come up with concepts, products and campaigns that would encourage women to pursue tech careers.

The Sydenham High team, which consisted of five senior girls – Tamara Bailey, Lucy Patterson, Jade Lucas, Ester Schomberg and Deeya Patel – together with two Year 6 and two Year 5 girls – Kirsten Marks, Martha Pardue, Alyssa Patel and Anna Gjetnes – was awarded the People’s Choice prize for their inventive website and app idea Code Elle.  This would enable girls across the world to be confident coders and inspire them to start a technology-related career.

Supported by industry mentors from companies including the British Red Cross, Big White Wall, Acorn Aspirations and Code Kingdoms, each team produced a video and website to promote their idea.

As well as the competition, the girls listened to presentations from industry experts and, excitingly, were the first to try out the new BBC Microbit prior to launch.

Sydenham High’s Digital Strategy Leader, Matthew Llewellin, hopes that both the event and the teams’ win will inspire more girls to consider careers in technology. He said:

“Our students’ app was one of many fantastic ideas on the day, highlighting the creative and technological abilities of GDST girls. The inventive approaches our students were able to demonstrate make them excellent future candidates for the growing number of opportunities available to digitally capable young people.”

The school has also recently received a Good Schools Guide Gold Award for girls taking computer studies at GCSE, having outperformed all other English schools in its category. A new computer science curriculum has also been introduced, designed to help the girls become creators of tech, instead of just consumers.  It will also better equip them for the real world of work and industry – especially as women are currently underrepresented in the tech arena.

According to a new report from business advisory firm, Deloitte, in the UK, the percentage of women in digital jobs increased from 17 per cent to just 18 per cent between 2010 and 2015. In 2013, only 17.1% of the UK’s computer science students were women, down from the previous year.

Emma Mulqueeny, CEO of Elbi Digital, founder of Rewired and Young Rewired State and a member of the Government’s Commission on Digital Democracy, who spoke at the event, said:

“Women are still massively under-represented in the technology sector but there is light at the end of the tunnel. Events like the GDST’s Digital Leaders’ Conference encourage girls to think about the opportunities and challenges they will face when they enter the job market. These students are the trailblazers of the future.”