London girls' school to devote day to careers in technology

Streatham and Clapham High School will celebrate Ada Lovelace Day with an event to promote IT careers for girls

A south London secondary school for girls is taking its students off-timetable for a day to promote careers in IT.

Streatham and Clapham High School, part of the Girls' Day School Trust, will hold an IT event on 14 October to mark Ada Lovelace Day, an international celebration of the achievements of women in science, technology, engineering and maths.

The school aims to highlight the range of careers in IT, reveal tips on how to get started in coding, describe the different IT communities, and showcase how IT affects the world.

The day will include talks by Julie Dawson from Techhangout and Anne-Marie Imafidon from Stemettes, among others.

Imafidon has offered to supply three coders so the students can learn how to hack.

Gillian Cross, senior mistress, head of upper fifth at the school, said: “We want to bring IT to the forefront and it is timely now with the Year of Code and the new computing curriculum.

“The aim is to encourage young women to start coding and programming on their own and to find the independence and confidence to do so. Instead of thinking of coding as a pastime, we want them to think of it as a career.”

Cross said her husband is a Perl programmer, so she occasionally gets to attend IT conferences with him. “At these conferences, I noticed a lack of females,” she said. “There is so much good that can come out of a career in tech, just one being the good pay.”

Cross said the Ada Lovelace Day event at the school will run as a “computing carousel”, with the girls rotating between learning various aspects of computing careers, learning to code and hearing from female role models in the industry.

“People have been so open to this project and are keen to get involved further,” she said.

“Something else we will focus on is work experience. Work experience at companies is currently seen as a drain, instead of a positive. This isn’t just within the tech industry, so this needs to change right across the board.”

Read more on IT technical skills