Pupils learn to love science and maths again

22nd August 2008 at 01:00
Science organisations and campaigners have given the reported increase in teenagers opting for maths, physics, chemistry and biology A - levels a cautious welcome.

All four subjects registered more students completing A-levels, which led to claims that the longstanding trend of students moving away from these "hard" subjects is being reversed.

The numbers receiving a grade for further maths rose 15.5 per cent; for maths, 7.5 per cent; for chemistry, 3.5 per cent; for biology, 2.7 per cent; and physics, 2.3 per cent.

Professor John Holman, director of the National Science Learning Centre, said: "We have growing evidence that the corner has been turned in the popularity of science and mathematics."

Professor Martin Rees, president of the Royal Society, said: "The results for science and maths A-levels give us reasons to be encouraged.

"In the longer term, if we are to see further increases . it is vital that there are enough specialist teachers who can bring these subjects alive to their students."

There was also a note of caution from the Campaign for Science and Engineering. Dr Hilary Leevers, its assistant director said that, while the absolute number of grades awarded in the sciences had increased, this was explained by an overall rise in the number of A-levels taken across all subjects.

In fact, the proportion of biology, chemistry or physics A-levels in relation to all subjects taken did not go up this year, she said, although the proportion did increase for maths and further maths.

Dr Leevers added that she was also concerned that there had barely been any increase this year in the number of girls taking physics.

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