Exams

Exams: Entries boost in statistics and engineering GCSEs

Further maths and physics A-levels also see increase in entries, but GCSE citizenship and A-level sociology become less popular

Further maths and physics A-levels also see increase in entries, but GCSE citizenship and A-level sociology become less popular

GCSE exams in statistics and engineering saw a boost in popularity this year, while fewer pupils are taking citizenship and performing arts.

At the same time, entries rose for A-levels in further maths, physics and computing, but dropped in sociology and drama.

Exams regulator Ofqual has published provisional entry statistics for GCSEs and A-levels this summer.

GCSE entries increased by 4.8 per cent from 5,543,840 in summer 2023 to 5,811,790 in summer 2024. However, over that same period the 16-year-old pupil population grew by 5.2 per cent.

But entries to A-levels increased at double the rate of the increase in 18-year-olds (2.4 per cent vs 1.2 per cent).

The biggest jumps at GCSE were in statistics (20.3 per cent) and engineering (17.4 per cent.

But there were drops in entries to citizenship (3.9 per cent), performing/expressive arts (3.1 per cent) and drama (0.8 per cent).

Boost for modern languages

All EBacc subjects saw an increase in entries, except ancient languages, which saw a 1 per cent drop.

The biggest rises in EBacc entries were in other modern languages (8.1 per cent), maths (7.1 per cent) and English language (7 per cent).

This year there was a reduction in the proportion of entries to higher tier exams in a number of subjects.

For example, the proportion of higher tier entries in statistics fell by 5 percentage points and in French, German and Spanish by 4 percentage points.

This followed an increase in higher tier entries in all subjects in 2021, the second year that physical exams did not take place. Entries to higher tier papers have been falling since then.

Maths, physics and computing more popular

At A-level, entries to further maths increased by 19.8 per cent, physics by 12.6 per cent, computing by 11.8 per cent and maths by 11.4 per cent.

Jill Duffy, chief executive of exam board OCR, said computing was “surging in popularity”.

“Students are demanding qualifications that are relevant to their lives now and for their future employment.

“We need to reflect students’ changing needs, not only in subject options and content, but in how qualifications are delivered and assessed.”

Entries to sociology fell by 6.9 per cent, drama by 5.8 per cent and geography by 3.9 per cent.

Final entry rates will be confirmed later in the year.

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