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Sheffield High sets new world record!

Over 100 Sheffield High School pupils recently helped set a new world record by being part of the world’s biggest practical science lesson in multiple venues.

Against a background that “girls don’t do physics” the High School girls showed that they really do as they measured gravity in their now successful bid to enter the record books. The experiment, which took place in November, involved around 2,000 girls at 26 Girls’ Day School Trust (GDST) schools across the country and Guinness World Records have recently confirmed that the bid was indeed successful!

The pupils carried out two experiments which involved measuring the value of acceleration due to gravity. One measured the time taken for an object to drop a set distance while the other timed a swinging pendulum.

Pupils taking part in the experiments ranged in age from ten to 15. “It was very exciting taking part in something like this, as it brought the whole school and the GDST together,” said fourteen year old Maria Keriakos, “It was such a unique event, I’m really proud to have been a part of somethng which has made science history!”

All the participating students were pupils of the Girls’ Day School Trust (GDST), the leading group of independent girls’ schools in the UK, taking part in this year’s 140th anniversary celebrations. “We’d been planning this record attempt to mark our anniversary for months,” said headmistress Valerie Dunsford. “The most disturbing statistic from the Institute of Physics’ recent report was that nearly half of all co-ed maintained schools in England do not send even one girl on to do physics at A-level.”

“In the girls-only environment of the GDST, science subjects in general, and physics in particular, are hugely popular and successful. At Sheffield High School, over 20% of our girls study A-level physics each year, and they do very well at it, with 50% achieving an A* grade this year. The enthusiasm for this experiment, right across our school, shows the degree to which we’re bucking some of the less encouraging educational trends.”

The Girls’ Day School Trust The Girls’ Day School Trust is the leading group of independent girls’ schools in the UK, educating 20,000 pupils. In last summer’s A-level results, nearly 60% of GDST pupils’ exam grades were A* or A, and nearly 85% were A*, A or B.

In 2012, 37% of GDST girls took A-level maths, 35% took biology and 30% took chemistry. Around 12% took A-level physics, and virtually half of them (49.4%) achieved an A* or A grade.

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