In England and Wales, there are 16,600 secondary applications, compared to around 10,000 in March 2000.
Maths, a long-standing shortage subject, has done even better, up by 84 per cent since March 2000, according to an analysis of government figures produced by recruitment expert John Howson. However, it is still unlikely to meet its recruitment target of 2,315 places this year, partly because the target has been raised.
The big improvements in recruitment to physics and chemistry over three years (up 70 and 80 per cent respectively) mean only an extra 90 physics and 145 chemistry applicants, because of the subjects' low starting point.
The new subject of information and communications technology, introduced in 2000, has seen a fivefold increase in applications.
Religious education is the only subject attracting fewer applicants than three years ago, while music is barely up on 2000 and fell 18 per cent compared to last year.
Professor Howson, director of Education Data Surveys, believes RE should be made a shortage subject enabling it to attract a "golden hello" of pound;4,000. English, which is recruiting well, should be dropped from the shortage list, he said. "We will be watching to see whether press reports of possible teacher redundancies this summer have any effect on recruitment," he said.
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