Press release

A level results show more doing maths and sciences than ever before

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Elizabeth Truss comments on the rise in the number of students taking A levels in subjects like maths and the sciences.

A level results published today by the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) show there has been a big rise in the number and proportion of young people taking A levels in maths, physics, chemistry and biology – subjects that are highly valued by employers and universities.

There are more students doing maths, further maths, physics, chemistry and biology at A level than ever before – both in terms of number of entries and as a percentage of the cohort.

Education Minister Elizabeth Truss said:

It is extremely encouraging that there has been such a significant rise in the number of students taking A levels in subjects like maths and the sciences.

These subjects are not just fascinating and worth studying for their own sake – they are also the ones which open up modern, high-tech careers and are most in demand by employers and universities. This is good for the economy and will help the UK compete.

Background information

A level entries as a percentage of cohort (England) 2001 2010 2011 2012 2013 % change 2010-2013
Biology 7.9 7.7 8.4 8.5 8.8 14.3
Chemistry 5.5 5.9 6.6 6.8 7.3 23.7
Physics 4.6 4.1 4.5 4.7 5 22
Mathematics 10.1 10.4 11.6 11.8 12.4 19.2
Business studies 5.7 4.3 4.1 4 3.9 -9.3
General studies 14.6 6.9 6.2 5.3 4.8 -30.4
Law 1.5 2.1 2 1.9 1.8 -14.3
Media / Film / TV studies 2.5 4.6 4.7 4.5 4.1 -10.9
Drama / Performing / Expressive arts 2.3 2.8 2.7 2.5 2.3 -17.9

Source: JCQ figures for all entries and ONS population estimates for those with academic age 17 in each year

JCQ’s figures for UK entries show that from 2012 to 2013:

  • maths entries up 2.7% (from 85,714 in 2012 to 88,060 in 2013)

  • further maths entries up 4.5% (from 13,223 to 13,821)

  • biology entries up 1.4% (from 63,074 to 63,939)

  • chemistry entries up 5.2% (from 49,234 to 51,818)

  • physics entries up 3.1% (from 34,509 to 35,569)

  • general studies entries down 11.2% (from 35,558 to 31,562)

  • media / film / TV studies entries down 9.3% (from 32,111 to 29,112)

  • drama / performing / expressive arts down 9.0% (from 18,291 to 16,646)

  • law down 4.8% (from 13,154 to 12,523)

  • business studies entries down 3.1% (from 28,567 to 27,673)

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