News story

Government welcomes more pupils studying science

Pupils up and down the country receive A level results - with entries to STEM subjects increasing for both boys and girls


Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has said the increase in pupils taking science subjects at A level will equip this generation with the skills the country needs.

Pupils up and down the country received the results of their A levels today and many of them are learning whether they have been successful in applying to university.

A level entries are higher than expected, given the population is estimated to have decreased by around 3% while A level entries have only decreased by 1.3%.

Statistics published today show:

  • Entries to STEM subjects have increased for both boys and girls – overall a 26.2% rise since 2010;
  • More girls now do science subjects – biology, chemistry and physics combined - than boys and overall science entries are up by 7.4%, despite the fall in the population;
  • Entries to Spanish have risen making it the most popular language at A level while there has been a relative increase in entries to German for the first time since 2007;
  • Maths remains the most popular subject at A level;
  • Since 2010, total entries in mathematics and further mathematics have increased by 20.0%, despite a 10.7% fall in the A level cohort population in the period;
  • Entries to both history and geography have increased;
  • Girls narrowly outperform boys at A and A* combined, reversing last year’s trend, but boys did better than girls at A*;
  • The North East has the highest overall pass rate and the biggest percentage improvement at A and A* grades;
  • There has been a rise in non-EU students coming to the country to study; and
  • A rise in nursing admissions – bucking a recent trend.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:

I congratulate everyone receiving their A level results today.

The new government will do all we can to improve funding for education and to give schools the powers they need to deal with bad behaviour and bullying so that pupils can learn.

We also must focus much more attention on providing great apprenticeships for all those who do not go to university.

Secretary of State for Education Gavin Williamson said:

Receiving your A level results is a huge day for all involved so I want to congratulate pupils, parents and teachers on all their hard work.

I’m delighted to see more pupils choosing science-related subjects. This is encouraging particularly as we look to boost science in this country and the skills we’ll need in the future.

Overall the reforms we’ve put in place since 2010 and increasing rigour in our schools are giving pupils more opportunities.

This year sees the continuation of the Government’s reforms to A levels in England, with almost all A level exams sat this summer being reformed qualifications. The new A levels have been updated to provide the best possible preparation for further study and the world of work, and have all their exams at the end of the course, removing continual testing and enabling students to gain a deeper understanding of the subject before they are assessed.

Thousands of pupils getting their results today will go on to do an apprenticeship. Apprenticeships offer students high-quality training and a range of exciting career options. They have more off-the-job training than in previous years and have the buy-in of some of country’s leading employers, including Lloyds Banking Group, Royal Mail and Berkeley Group.

Published 15 August 2019