Research and analysis

Maths and science education: the supply of high achievers at A level

This paper presents a comprehensive set of statistical analyses on how to increase the number of young people in England with good A levels in maths and science.



In 2002, the Department began collecting individual pupil-level data on the characteristics of pupils in maintained schools through the Schools Census. This information has been linked to attainment data from key stage tests to create the National Pupil Database, which has become a resource enabling detailed longitudinal analysis of pupil, school and national performance and the factors which are associated with it.

An area of considerable policy interest at key stage 5 has been the supply of young people gaining good A level grades in maths and science subjects, such that they would be eligible to continue on to university to study these subjects and subsequently to take up careers in these subject fields.

The principle aim of this paper is to present a comprehensive set of statistical analyses, building up a picture of the production function for the supply of young people in England with good A levels in maths and science. In this way, the questions addressed are focused towards high attainers in these subjects, with the desired output being grades A and B at A level.


  • Headline Maths & Science Trends
  • Prior Attainment, Continuation & Progression
  • Pupil Characteristics and A Level Outcomes
  • Provision: Education Settings & Pathways
  • Choice & Continuation
  • Modelling Maths & Science Uptake & Attainment
  • Annexes
Published 27 January 2011