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Primary Education News
News A-level results show rise in science entries
Economics, further mathematics and Spanish also rise while PE, German and drama fall
Students are shunning media studies for the sciences and economics, A-level results figures show.
The number of students sitting economics exams this summer rose by 7.45%, while chemistry (up 5.25%), further mathematics (4.52%) and Spanish (4.08%) also had more entries.
The sciences accounted for 17.8% of all entries this year, compared with 17% in 2012, with boys fuelling the increase. In physics 79.3% of entrants were male, after male entries rose by 3.8% and female entries by 0.2%. In English male entries fell 2.3% and female entries rose 0.6%.
More girls than boys achieved the top A and A* grades this year, with 26.7% of girls securing the top grades, compared with 25.9% of boys. But boys were more likely to get an A* – 7.9% of boys did so this year, compared with 7.4% of girls.
Application rates to traditional language subjects continued to suffer, with fewer students entering German (-11.13%) or French (-9.9%) exams. Spanish was the only language to buck the trend. Among other subjects suffering a slump in interest were physical education (-14.53%), design and technology (-8.54%) and drama (8.42%).
Andrew Hall, chief executive of the AQA exam board, welcomed "a massive increase in the sciences" but said entry rates for languages were a cause for concern.
Commenting on the gender gap, Hall said: "Clearly there are very strong differences in A-level trends have been there over time but we've noticed this year a widening of the gap. Why, we don't know, but the supply of teachers will be very important in determining this in the future."
Lesley Davies, chief executive of Pearsons, said exam boards would now collaborate to investigate why so few students were choosing languages. "It's good to see Spanish on the increase but we want to understand why takeup is so low – especially at a time when young people need to compete in a global market.
"We want to make use of all the information we have to look at the types of students we're getting – what is their background like, what did they achieve at GCSE and A-level."