Ministers have today claimed a major step forward in their attempts to encourage more pupils to take so-called academic subjects at Key Stages 4 and 5.
New statistics have shown increases in the number of students taking the English Baccalaureate at GCSE level and those taking “facilitating subjects” at A-level.
The EBac requires pupils to take English, Maths, a humanity, a language and two of the three sciences, while “facilitating A-levels” are chosen from a list of subjects commonly required for a entry by high performing universities.
Nationally some 35 per cent of all state school pupils took the EBac and 23 per cent passed it in 2013 – both significantly up on last year – and 41 per cent of A levels students took exams in two or more facilitating subjects, also a rise.
Overall, 60.2 per cent of pupils in state schools achieved a C or better in five GCSEs, including English and maths, compared to 58 per cent in 2012. This has been the traditional measure of “success” at Key Stage 2.
The government has been quick to jump on today’s data as evidence that their policies are working.
“We have reversed the long-term decline of the key academic subjects that give children the best chance to get on in life,” Tory education mnister Elizabeth Truss claimed. “For years children were steered away from subjects like languages and history but the EBac is fixing that.
“Pupils who study these subjects have more options, especially if they come from poorer backgrounds.”