Few female students take A Level maths or physics

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As A Level results are revealed up and down the country, experts have drawn attention to the continuing lack of students, particularly females, taking maths and physics at A-level.

Figures published by the Joint Council for Qualifications shows that of the 36,701 students who studied A-level physics, just 21 per cent were female. The figures for A-level maths and further maths fare slightly better. Of the 88,816 students who studied A-level maths, 39 per cent were female and of the 14,028 students who studied further maths, just 28 per cent were female.

The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) is warning that economic prosperity could be at risk if more students, particularly females, do not study and successfully complete these key engineering-enabling subjects.

Jayne Hall, IET Policy Advisor, said: ‘Maths and physics are crucial gateway subjects and vital to the industry and economy as a whole. With recent results from the IET’s Skills & Demand survey showing that only 6 per cent of the engineering and technology workforce are women, action needs to be taken at an early stage by encouraging females into these subjects.

‘Students are aware of the importance of A-level maths to starting a career in engineering, but the perceived importance of physics is much lower.

‘It is vital that we encourage more students, particularly females, to study these key enabling subjects. Currently, female students effectively rule themselves out of an engineering career at age 14 by not studying maths and physics.  We must change this so that students can make informed subject choices.’

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