Skip to main content

STEM LMI: Key data and trends

What's happening with STEM in schools?

GCSE/Standard - entrants

  • Over the last 5 years, GCSE science entries have remained the same.
  • The number of students opting for GCSEs in Chemistry, Biology and Physics have significantly increased over the last five years.
  • Of all the STEM subjects, Mathematics (as a compulsory subject) has the highest number of entrants. Entrants to Additional Mathematics and Statistics continue to fall.
  • In Scotland the number of entrants to STEM subjects at Standard Grade is declining, particularly in Science. In 2012, only Biology had a small increase in numbers.
  • The number of students entering GCSE in Design and technology has decreased over the last 10 years.
  • Since its introduction in 2011, the number of GCSE engineering entrants has increased by 15% to 2,128 entrants.
  • In 2012, nearly half of GCSE candidates were female in Biology (47%), Chemistry (47%) and Physics (46.6%). Since 2003, these proportions have been slowly increasing.

GCSE/Standard - achievements

  • Between 2003-2012, GCSE A*-C pass rates in all subjects have increased.
  • In 2012, pass rates in STEM subjects were highest for Physics (93.2%), Chemistry (93%) and Biology (92.6%).
  • Girls continue to outperform boys in most GCSE subjects at school, including STEM subjects.

Source: Engineering UK 2013 and Department for Education, GCSE and Equivalent Results (Provisional) in England, 2011/12 (SFR25/2012)

Percentage achieving grades A*-C in selected GCSE subjects by gender in England, 2011/12

gcse_2011-12.jpg

Source: Department for Education, GCSE and Equivalent Results (Provisional) in England, 2011/12 (SFR25/2012)

Back to the top

Apprenticeships, Foundation degrees and Further Education

  • The number of Apprenticeship starts in Construction, planning and built environment, Engineering and manufacturing technologies and information and Communication Technologies have increased since 2002/03.
    In 2010/11, 5.1% of all Apprenticeship starts in engineering were female.
  • In 2010/11, the percentage of N/SVQ achievements in Construction, planning and built environment was 1.5%, 6.9% in Engineering and manufacturing technologies and 50.9% in Information and Communication Technologies.
  • Achievements in these subjects have all increased with the exception of Construction, planning and built environment, which has seen an 11.7% decrease in the last year.
  • There are significantly more foundation degrees in Electrical, Manufacturing and Automotive engineering than other Engineering and technology degrees. There are few specialist courses available, such Railway, Marine, Process/material and Aerospace engineering.
  • Just under 11% of new entrants to Engineering and technology foundation degrees were female.
  • The numbers on full-time Engineering and technology foundation degrees has increased over recent years.
  • The number of entrants and completions on BTec Highers in Engineering has decreased significantly over the last 6 years.

Source: Engineering UK 2013

A Level - entrants

  • Over the last 10 years to 2012, there has been an increase in pupils taking A-level Chemistry and Mathematics, but Physics has increased more slowly.
  • Only 21.3% of those taking up Physics A levels are female.
  • There are more women opting for Biology than men and in Chemistry the number of men and women are about even.
  • In 2012, the number of Mathematics and Further mathematics entrants increased. 40% of Mathematics entrants were female.
  • The number of all entrants to Computing and ICT has decreased over the last 10 years. In Computing, only 7.8% of entrants are female, but in ICT 38.6% of entrants are female.
  • In terms of entrants, five of the top 10 subjects are STEM subjects, including Further mathematics, Physics, Mathematics, Other sciences and Chemistry.
  • In Scotland, the proportion of women opting for STEM subjects at Higher level is lower than for men, with the exception of Biology (where there is a significantly higher number of female entrants, 64%).
  • Over the last 5 years, the percentage of female entrants for STEM A level courses has remained the same. The number of female entrants to Information and communication technologies, Mathematics, Further mathematics and Design and Technology have increased significantly since 2003.

Source: Engineering UK 2013

A Level - achievements

  • The subjects with the greatest percentage of A* grades awarded in 2011/12 were Further Mathematics (28.4%) and Mathematics (17.9%).
  • High A level pass rates were also for Further mathematics, Design and technology, and Other science subjects.
  • The number of pupils achieving A*-C in A level biology, chemistry, physics and maths has increased.

Source: Engineering UK 2013 and Department for Education, GCE/Applied GCE A/AS and Equivalent Examination Results (Provisional) in England, 2011/12 (Revised)(SFR26/2012)

Back to the top

A Level examination results for selected subjects by grade and gender in England, 2011/12

alevels_2011-12.jpg

Source: Department for Education, GCE/Applied GCE A/AS and Equivalent Examination Results (Provisional) in England, 2011/12 (Revised)(SFR26/2012)

What's happening with STEM in Higher Education?

Higher Education applicants

  • Overall the number of applicants to Higher Education has increased since 1999/2000, but there are early indicators the numbers may have dropped.
  • The number of enrolments to STEM courses has increased since 1999/2000, with the exception of Mathematics and Computing Science which has only seen a small increase.
  • There has a significant increase in numbers to Physical sciences and Biological sciences over the last 10 years.
  • Between 2001/02 and 2010/11, the percentage of female applicants to STEM Higher Education courses has increased, with the exception of Electronic and electrical engineering and Production and manufacturing engineering.
  • In 2010/11, the number of applicants to Engineering and technology degrees was down.
  • The number of Engineering postgraduate degree and doctorate students have increased steadily since 2003/04, including hte percentage of female students.

Graduate destinations

  • Engineering and technology graduates are unlikely to go into Science and mathematics occupations, only around 2%.
  • 68.3% of male and 51.1% of female Engineering and technology graduates go into Engineering and technology occupations.
  • In 2010/11, 58.2% of Engineering and technology graduates went into full-time employment compared with 51.9% of all graduates. However, 8.7% of Engineering and technology graduates were unemployed compared with 7.5% of all graduates.
  • Female Engineering and technology graduates are more likely to go on to Further study than their male counterparts.

Source: Engineering UK 2013

Back to the top