A-level maths uptake on the increase but science still lacks pulling power

A-level maths has experienced a significant increase in uptake since 2004, but science is still lagging behind, according to today’s A-level results.

Schools minister Jim Knight said there had been a 14% increase in maths students over two years, with an improvement in overall pass rates across all subjects. But A-level science subjects showed only a 0.3% increase in students, compared with last year.

The news comes just days after theCBI called on the government to knock £1,000 a year off tuition fees for science and engineering students to head off a massive skills shortage.

Knight said: “It is encouraging that the number of students taking maths and science subjects is on the rise. We recognise their crucial importance to the UK economy and want to accelerate this trend over the coming years.”

The Dorset MP also highlighted the benefits of the new diploma system and secondary curriculum being introduced from next September.

“The [new] curriculum will place a renewed emphasis on the ‘three Rs’, give teachers more scope to focus on pupils struggling with basic maths and English, and offer other students extra challenges to stimulate them,” he said.

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