News story

New statistics reveal more students are studying core academic subjects at secondary school

Notice about the increase in uptake of English Baccalaureate subjects at secondary level.

New statistics published today show that there are around 3,400 more teachers in secondary schools teaching in English Baccalaureate - or EBacc - subjects.

The statistics also reveal that the number of hours taught in history, geography and modern languages - EBacc subjects - is up by 10% overall in 2011 compared with the previous year. These subjects have historically been in decline so this shows that schools are widening the opportunities for pupils to study these subjects in key stage 4.

The EBacc was introduced in January 2011 by the department as an additional measure in the performance tables. It recognises the success of those young people who attain GCSEs, or accredited versions of established iGCSEs, at grades A* to C across a core of academic subjects - English, maths, geography or history, the sciences and a language. These are the qualifications which will best prepare young people for further study and rewarding employment.

The new data shows there was an increase of 23,000 teaching hours in the EBacc subjects compromising:

  • an increase of 11% in the number of hours of history lessons at key stage 4 - from 43,800 in 2010 to 48,600 in 2011
  • an increase of around 13% in the number of hours of geography lessons at key stage 4 - from 37,100 in 2010 to 41,900 in 2011
  • an increase of around 8% in the number of hours of languages lessons at key stage 4 - from 69,300 in 2010 to 74,600 in 2011.

Schools Minister Nick Gibb said:

We want all children to have a broad and balanced education that includes English, maths, the sciences, a language and history or geography.

Today’s figures show an encouraging trend that reflects the fact that schools are offering more of these core academic subjects. In 2011 there were around 3,400 more teachers teaching in these subjects and an increase of 23,000 teaching hours on the previous year.

The EBacc ensures that young people have the knowledge and skills they need to progress to further study or to rewarding employment. Through the EBacc, we are opening up these core subjects to all pupils, regardless of their background.

A survey of almost 700 maintained secondary schools by the National Centre for Social Research last year showed that:

  • 33% of pupils in the schools surveyed taking GCSEs this year will be doing a combination of subjects that could lead to an EBacc
  • 47% of pupils in the schools surveyed taking GCSEs in 2013 will be doing a combination of subjects that could lead to an EBacc.

This compares with data which shows that in 2010 just 22% of GCSE-stage pupils were entered for the EBacc.

Notes for editors

  1. The School Workforce in England (Provisional), November 2011 statistics can be found online here.

Head count

Subject Head count1 of in-service
teachers to KS4 - Nov 10
Head count1 of in-service
teachers to KS4 - Nov 11
Difference2

Mathematics

27,400 27,900 600
English 29,000 29,500 500
Physics 2,900 3,000 200
Chemistry 3,200 3,300 100
Biology 3,500 3,700 200
Combined/General Science 27,600 27,800 200
History 9,400 10,000 600
Geography 8,200 8,800 600
French 8,700 9,000 300
German 3,600 3,600 0
Spanish 3,900 4,200 300
Other Modern Languages 1,300 1,200 -100

[1] Teachers were counted once against each subject that they were teaching, regardless of the amount of time they spend teaching the subject.

[2] Difference calculated on unrounded head-counts and rounded to nearest 100.

Hours taught

Subject Head taught to KS4 - Nov 10 Head taught to KS4 - Nov 11 Difference1

Mathematics

184,900 189,200 4,300
English 194,400 197,100 2,700
Physics 12,700 13,400 700
Chemistry 12,800 13,500 700
Biology 13,500 14,200 600
Combined/General Science 201,100 200,200 -900
History 43,800 48,600 4,800
Geography 37,100 41,900 4,800
French 34,400 37,200 2,900
German 14,600 14,700 100
Spanish 15,700 18,200 2,500
Other Modern Languages 4,600 4,500 -100

[1] Differences calculated on unrounded hours taught and rounded to nearest 100.

2. The survey of almost 700 maintained secondary schools by the National Centre for Social Research, for DfE, can be found in the publications section.

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