UK physics A-level entrants by gender 2010–16
What does this data show?
The number of girls taking A-level physics in 2016 is 7645, representing 21.6% of all entrants in the subject. There has been little change between 2015 and 2016, when 21.5% of entrants into A-level physics were girls. The numbers of both girls and both entering for A-level physics fell in 2016, but the fall was slightly greater for boys – 2.8% compared to 1.8% for girls. The number of boys taking A-level physics has risen by around 14% since 2010, and the number of girls by around 15%.
The number of girls taking A-level physics has increased since 2010, but this has been in line with the overall rise in the number of entrants and the proportion of girls to boys has stayed roughly level at 21% (+/- 0.5%) during this time – at least until 2016. There has been a rise in the proportion of girls taking A-level physics in each year since 2013, and 2016 has seen the highest proportion of girls taking the subject since 2009. Since the early 1990s, the proportion of girls to boys has not fallen below 20.7% but not risen above 23.1%. The number of girls studying physics fell almost every year from the early 1990s, falling to a low of 5960 in 2006, and since 2007 has increased annually by an average of 2.56%, although this is slightly below the total increase in entrants between this period at2.65%.
The number of girls in biology, which sees a majority of girls entering at A-level, rose 17% between 2010 and 2016 compared to just a 3.4% rise in the number of boys. The rise in the number of girls taking mathematics between 2010 and 2016 was 14% (compared to a rise of 26% for boys). During this time there has been a 23% rise in the number of girls taking A-level chemistry (13% for boys), which has led to the highest proportion of girls in the subject since 2004 – 49.9% in 2016. There were just 63 more boys than girls entering A-level chemistry in 2016.