A total of 41% of total A level entries were in STEM subjects (up slightly from 39% in 2015 and 40% in 2016). But for girls, the figure remains static at 35%, while 46% of entries for boys were in STEM.
Nevertheless, Minister of State for School Standards Nick Gibb claimed that the increased uptake of STEM subjects “bodes well for the economic prosperity of our country".
He added: "It will help to grow our workforce in these sectors, allowing young people to secure well-paid jobs and compete in the global jobs market of post Brexit Britain. It is particularly pleasing to see that more young women are taking STEM subjects."
Dr Sarah Main, director of the Campaign for Science and Engineering (CaSe) recognised the Government campaign to put STEM at the heart of its industrial strategy but added: “We still have a lot to do to encourage young people from all walks of life to benefit from the opportunities that developing maths, science and engineering skills offers. As a first step to achieving this, government must urgently address the shortage of teachers in specialist subjects such as maths, computing, engineering and physics.
"The jobs of this generation will increasingly benefit from skills learnt through science and maths subjects: analysis, critical thinking and combining creativity with tech know-how.”
However, only 7,600 students in England took A-level computing, and just 9.8% of those were girls.
IT Chartered Institute, BCS director of education Bill Mitchell said the figures were concerning. "This is well short of the 40,000 level that we should be seeing, and at less than 10%, the numbers of girls taking computing A-level are seriously low.”
“We know that this a problem starting at primary school and it’s something that we need to address at all levels throughout education. As a society, we need to make sure that our young women are leaving education with the digital skills they need to secure a worthwhile job, an apprenticeship or go on to further study.”