The IOP collates statistics on physics education and research, covering areas ranging from school and university education to the employment of physicists. View the headline data below, as well as links to more detailed reports
UK physics A-level entries 2010–15
What is this data?
This data provides an overview of physics A-level entrants, the number of students completing an A-level in physics between 2010 and 2015 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The data includes all students taking physics A-level in each academic year, including all 16- to 19-year-olds and adult learners.
Where is this data from?
This data is published annually by the Joint Council for Qualifications.
What does this data show?
The number of physics A-level entrants in 2015 is 36,287. Numbers of physics A-level entrants have risen steadily year-on-year from 2010 up until 2014, reflecting a trend stretching back as far as 2007. The number of entrants has grown by an average of 4.5% year-on-year between 2010 and 2014, and by an average of 3.6% year-on-year between 2007 and 2014. This increase is in spite of a fall in the population of 16-year-olds in the UK since 2007, according to ONS figures. The number of physics A-level entrants had fallen consistently during the 1990s and into the mid-2000s, owing to a number of factors including changes to science GCSEs, which saw a rise in combined science over separate sciences and an expansion of competing A-level subjects. Entries were 46,950 in 1989 but fell every year bar three until 2006, when entries hit a low point of 27,368.
In 2015, the number of entrants to physics A-level has fallen by one percent, the first drop in nearly a decade. The explanation for this may lie once again in changes to GCSE science exams, which will have impacted on the current cohort of A-level students, reducing the numbers who would have been eligible to enter.