The gender divide at A-level laid bare

Girls are shunning subjects like computing and physics in their droves

Richard Vaughan

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Just 0.3 per cent of girls studied computing at A-level, whereas more than 20 per cent chose to take English, according to figures published by Ofsted. 

The inspectorate has released the data to give inspectors and schools the chance to monitor the progression of different groups of students from Year 11 into A-level. 

According to the watchdog, until now there has been no single source of such information and allows schools to compare how they are fairing against the national picture. 

What it reveals, however, is the stark differences in take up of subjects between the sexes. For every three girls opting for physics, 10 boys are choosing to study the subject. Likewise in computing, just 0.3 per cent of girls chose to take the subject beyond GCSE.

But the imbalances can go the other way with just of 20 per cent of girls, a fifth of the cohort, studying English, whereas it was just 8 per cent for boys.  

The numbers reveal that the government has a long way to go to urge girls to study the Stem subjects (science, technology, engineering and maths). 


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Richard Vaughan

Richard has been writing about politics, policy and technology in education for nearly five years after joining TES in 2008. He joined TES from the building press having been a reporter and then later news editor at the Architects’ Journal. Before then he studied at Cardiff University’s school of journalism. Richard can be found tweeting at @richardvaughan1

Find me on Twitter @RichardVaughan1

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