GCSE entries: Stats, citizenship and Spanish up, PE, media and engineering down

Exams cancelled

GCSE entries increased this year as the number of 16-year-olds rose, Ofqual has reported.

According to the exams regulator, there have been 5,281,745 entries for GCSE exams this year, up from 5,185,840. The increase of 2 per cent is more than double that seen last year, but is to be expected as it corresponds with a 3 per cent increase in the number of 16-year-olds.

The subjects with the largest increases in entries include combined science, history, Spanish, statistics and citizenship, while PE, media, engineering, computing and “other modern language” courses saw the biggest falls.

Meanwhile, A-level entries have continued to fall, dropping by 2 per cent from 745,585 in 2019 to 731,855 this year. This correspondents with a 3 per cent decrease in the number of 18-year-olds.

The government said the increase in GCSE entries was mostly driven by a boost in entries to EBacc subjects, up from 4,206,700 in 2019 to 4,297,100 this year, an increase of 2.1 per cent. Entries to non-Ebacc subjects also rose, but by 0.6 per cent, from 979,140 to 984,645.

The biggest rises among EBacc subjects were in combined science (up 4 per cent), history (up 4 per cent) and Spanish (up 5 per cent), while entries in computing and “other modern languages” (which excludes French, Spanish and German) saw the largest decreases in entries, at -2 per cent and -4 per cent respectively.

Among non-EBacc subjects, the largest rises were in statistics and citizenship (both up 9 per cent) and economics (up 6 per cent) while the largest falls were in PE (down 7 per cent), media film and TV studies (down 5 per cent) and engineering (also down 5 per cent).

AS-level entries continued the rapid slump seen since they were decoupled from A-levels. Entries dropped 26 per cent this year, from 117,595 to 86,970.

Pupils will not sit exams in the subjects this year because of the coronavirus, with schools instead issuing teacher-assessed grades and ranking pupils on their performance in each subject.

EBacc entries

Spanish – up 5 per cent

Combined science – up 4 per cent

History – up 4 per cent

German – up 3 per cent

Maths – up 2 per cent

English language – up 2 per cent

English literature – up 2 per cent

Geography – up 1 per cent

Ancient languages – No change

French – no change

Biology – down 1 per cent

Chemistry – down 1 per cent

Physics – down 1 per cent

Computing – down 2 per cent

Other modern languages – down 4 per cent


Non-Ebacc entries

Citizenship studies – up 9 per cent

Statistics – up 9 per cent

Economics – up 6 per cent

Art and design – up 5 per cent

Classical subjects – up 5 per cent

Food preparation and nutrition – up 5 per cent

Other sciences – up 5 per cent

Business studies – up 2 per cent

Social science subjects – up 1 per cent

Drama – no change

Music – no change

Design and technology – down 1 per cent

Religious studies – down 1 per cent

Performing/expressive arts – down 3 per cent

Engineering – down 5 per cent

Media, film and TV studies – down 5 per cent

Physical education – down 7 per cent

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