Extended projects are well on their way to eclipsing A-level general studies as sixth-formers' means of broadening their education, with a huge 51 per cent increase in entries.
This year 24,099 pupils completed a project, which can involve writing a 5,000-word dissertation, a report with findings from an investigation or study, or creating a short film or piece of music. They have only been available for three years but have taken off rapidly, with one university admissions tutor calling for ministers to make them compulsory.
Association of School and College Leaders general secretary Brian Lightman said: "We welcome the extended project as something through which students can gain a much greater breadth of study."
Meanwhile, the decline of general studies has continued, with a massive 12.37 per cent slump in entries this year. The subject is still the eighth most popular A-level, with 40,984 entries.
But its popularity with universities has dipped since 1993, when it was the second most popular subject.
Mr Lightman said: "General studies probably has had its day."