A high school teacher who significantly boosted the number of young girls taking computer science has been nominated for a ‘women in technology’ award.

Shona McAlpine, who teaches Computing Science at Stirling High School, helped raise the number of girls studying the subject at N5 level from 16 to 43 per cent and has spearheaded a number of pioneering measures including:

-Introducing the Cyber First competition to Stirling High which has seen more than 10 girl groups compete in the past two years.
-Introducing Digital Skills NPA to Stirling High School which has seen a high uptake.
-Introducing NPA in Cyber Security as a lunchtime club.
-Supporting the school’s the first-ever Advanced Higher female candidate.

She has also helped introduce tech newcomers to Raspberry Pi, the go-to microcomputer for all ages and abilities starting out in the world of programming and electronic, by co-leading the Raspberry Pi Extra Curricular club, with involvement from industry and Stirling University.

McAlpine has been nominated for her work as Secondary Teacher of the Year at the Scotland Women in Technology (SWiT) Awards, which takes places on Thursday this week at the Radisson Blu hotel in Glasgow.

The Secondary Teacher of the Year category highlights those who have gone the extra mile to involve girls in technology and inspire them to study or start a career in the industry.

Shona said: “There are great job opportunities for girls who have tech qualifications and I don’t want to see them missing out. Computing Science is one part of the economy which is going to expand, not contract.

“It is very kind of people to have nominated me, but there are teachers throughout Scotland who are working to encourage girls into the tech subjects. I would like to thank the support Stirling High has given me in encouraging the next generation of women in tech. “

Councillor Susan McGill, Convenor of the Children and Young People Committee at Stirling Council, said: “Congratulations to Shona for this well-deserved recognition which highlights the fantastic effort she has put in to inspire girls to get involved in technology.

“Teachers play a crucial role in determining the future career paths of young people, and the work Shona has put in to show girls that there are great career opportunities in digital and IT has already begun to pay dividends with increased opportunities and participation by girls at Stirling High.”

Vice Convenor, Councillor Christine Simpson, said: “It’s fantastic to see one of Stirling’s teachers recognised at an event that celebrates women who are achieving success in Scotland’s technology sector.

“Shona obviously cares passionately about getting more girls involved in technology and it is teachers like her who are helping turn the tides on gender representation in what might previously have been thought of as a male only industry.”

SWiT is a non-profit organisation which seeks to put gender equality at the forefront of Scotland’s technology industry, and their awards celebrate those who are committed to furthering the role of women in this sector.