Closing Doors: Exploring gender and subject choice in schools

A statistical study exploring the links between gender and subject choice.

Closing Doors: Exploring gender and subject choice in schools

Closing Doors: Exploring gender and subject choice in schools (PDF, 1.3 MB)

This report uses the National Pupil Database to look at progression to a number of gendered A-level subjects from co-educational schools.

Main points include:

  • Nearly half of co-educational state-funded schools (49%) are actually making the gender imbalance in these subjects worse
  • The small number of schools (19%) that send on relatively more girls to do A-level physics also have a smaller gender imbalance in progression to other subjects
  • It follows that whatever factors limit the progression of girls to A-level physics in a school are likely to depend on the whole school environment

Recommendations include:

  • School accountability measures should include an indicator of gender imbalance in progression to A-level and other post-16 qualifications
  • Ofsted should require schools to monitor and counter gender imbalance in progression, participation and achievement
  • Schools should reflect on their own statistics and put in place whole-school measures to counter gender stereotyping

For more information or to order a printed copy of the report, please email

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