Press release

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

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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