Students earn award for taboo-busting science projects on women’s health - The Rugby Observer

Students earn award for taboo-busting science projects on women’s health

Rugby Editorial 25th May, 2024   0

TABOO-busting science projects on women’s health have earned Rugby High School students an award.

Year 9 students at the Longrood Road school have received a Bronze CREST Award for their work, in which they explored and examined topics related to women’s reproductive health.

Staff at the school felt that menstrual education was often overlooked or reduced to a footnote within the science curriculum, allowing stigmas to go unaddressed and girls left uninformed about issues that will affect them throughout their lives.

To tackle this, Susan Mighall, the school’s Curriculum Lead for Physics and GCSE Combined Science, and Key Stage 3 Science Co-ordinator Stewart Broadbent wanted to empower students to be well-informed on these issues and feel comfortable discussing them.

Using the British Science Association’s (BSA) Bronze CREST Awards, they supported the Year 9 students to complete group projects from the CREST resource pack ‘Disease, development and diagnostics’, exploring topics including the menstrual cycle, taboos around women’s health, HPV, cervical cancer, endometriosis and global healthcare during pregnancy.

One of the groups completed the ‘It’s a pain’ project, exploring why some women experience worse menstrual pain and the best methods of pain relief, concluding their findings in a final presentation.

Another group explored the HPV vaccine, its importance, and its link to cervical cancer.

The teachers said they noted the growth in the girls’ confidence to discuss the topics, the enthusiasm and interest they showed, and the sense of empowerment they gained in completing the projects. They also received a CREST Award for their work, validating and celebrating their learning.

Stuart Broadbent said: “For me, the highlight was the beginning and how engaged the students were by the subject material, and how excited they were to actually start researching and finding out about it. That engagement continued throughout.

“There was a definite buzz through the room of people discovering things all the time and feeling that they knew more about the topics. You wouldn’t have the sustained interest and enthusiasm without that – the feeling in the classroom was of people discovering things.”

Catherine Davies, Education Resource Manager at the BSA, said: “It is incredibly gratifying to hear about the enthusiasm with which the girls from Rugby High School engaged in their CREST projects on women’s health.

“Too often are women’s health topics dismissed or overlooked, and the hope for these resources was to make up for the lack of menstrual health education in the curriculum and tackle stigmas around reproductive issues.

“These resources gave the students the opportunity to take control of their learning whilst discovering how science is part of them, their everyday lives and their futures.

“While Rugby High School is an all-girls high school, we must not ignore the importance of encouraging boys to engage with these topics and equipping them with the knowledge and understanding to help squash taboos around women’s health issues.”


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