Princess Anne was part of a winning team who programmed a robot this week at the WISE Awards dinner. The Princess Royal is Royal Patron of WISE, a campaign which encourages women and girls to get involved in science, technology, engineering and maths.
The Queen’s daughter coded a micro:bit to play the popular game ‘rock, paper, scissors’ which was then played as a knock-out tournament involving all 500 guests at the dinner. Although Princess Anne didn’t win the competition, Myrtle Dawes, who was sitting just a couple of seats away from her, was declared the champion.
Programming a robot can seem like a challenging task. However, Cindy Rose, UK chief executive of Microsoft, and Dr Nina Skorupska CBE, chief executive of the Renewable Energy Association, were on hand to teach guests how to code.
Helen Wollaston, chief executive of WISE, said: “The micro:bit is being rolled out to primary schools across the UK to teach children to code. The Princess Royal was an inspiration, getting involved with creating the code for the micro:bit and playing the game. We asked all our guests to go back to the classroom and show girls how easy technology is – and fun! The Princess Royal has shown the way.
“The UK loses 50,000 talented girls every year from science, technology and engineering jobs. Girls outperform boys in GCSE science subjects, with near equality in numbers taking these exams. This plummets to just 33 per cent of females after GCSEs and by university, just seven per cent of women take degrees in technology and engineering. We must inspire women both to help the UK’s skills crisis and for women to get great jobs.”
Micro:bit is an educational foundation set up by the BBC in cooperation with ARM, Microsoft, Nominet, Samsung and the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET). It is distributing a total of one million micro:bits to school children in the UK. The aim of the foundation is to inspire young people to get creative with digital technology, as well as developing core skills in science, technology and engineering.