Rise in A-level physics students for eighth year running

14 August 2014

The number of students taking A-level physics has gone up for the eighth consecutive year. There were 36,701 sitting A-level physics this year – a 3.2% increase on last year’s 35,569 students. Numbers have continued to rise year-on-year since the low of just 27,368 entries in 2006.

Rise in A-level physics students for eighth year running

The increase in students taking physics comes despite an overall reduction in the number of total A-level entries across all subjects.

Institute of Physics President Frances Saunders said: “We’re very pleased to see an increase in the numbers of students choosing to take A-level physics. Increasing uptake has been a long-term objective of ours, and one we are addressing through initiatives such as the Stimulating Physics Network.

“SPN is helping to develop a cadre of secondary-school teachers that are more confident, effective and inspirational. Students’ experience of physics in school is a big factor in whether they choose to continue studying it post-16, and SPN is proving to be a major contributor to increasing numbers of A-level physics students.”

The number of girls taking the subject increased by around 5%, and their progression from AS- to A-level physics also increased, by 0.8%. But female A-level physics students still only represent 21.1% of the total number of entries, and worries remain about too few girls choosing physics.

“We’re still concerned about the low numbers of girls taking physics, much of which can be attributed to gender-stereotyping,” Saunders said. “They’re just as entitled to the opportunities opened up by a good education in physics as boys are, and we’re working to increase the number of girls choosing physics.”

The Institute currently carries out a number of activities aimed at increasing female participation in physics.

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