Ofqual has recently produced a breakdown of the uptake of GCSE, level 1 and 2 certificates, AS and A level qualifications. The headline figures are:
There has been a further 13% drop in the number of early entry GCSEs (year 10 entry or below) in summer 2016 compared to summer 2015. This is on top of a 32% drop in early entry between 2014 and 2015. Nevertheless, the amount of early entries has increased in business studies, computing, drama, economics, music, physical education, religious studies and statistics.
For EBacc subjects, there has been an 8% decrease in the uptake of English, English language, German and French, with an increase of between 2% and 22% in English literature, biology, chemistry, physics, geography, history, science, additional science and Spanish. Entries for Maths increased by 3% and there has been an increase in the amount of students taking separate science GCSE’s instead of the triple award (a combination of chemistry, biology and physics). Notably, there has been an 87% increase in the uptake of computing.
(AS and A level qualifications)
Entries for AS level subjects dropped by 14% between 2015 and 2016. Only mathematics, health and social care, political studies and other modern languages increased. The uptake of reformed AS levels fell by 22%, with entries decreasing by 32% in English language and literature.
The uptake of A levels decreased by 2% between 2015 and 2016. The subjects with the biggest decreases were critical thinking (50%), general studies (35%), leisure (15%), performing or expressive arts (15%) and ICT (10%). There were largest increases in computing (15%), religious studies (6%), economics (5%) and health and social care (5%).
Governors may find these figures useful when discussing the curriculum, particularly in academies and sixth forms which have more freedom to choose their own subject offer.