Record STEM GCSE grades for girls although numbers opting for non-core STEM subjects fell considerably.
Girls achieved record top grades in STEM GCSEs with 55% of girls achieving A*-A *(grades 9 to 7). There was a slight drop in girls achieving A* to C (grades 9-4) at 99.8% compared with 100% last year. The numbers of girls taking STEM subjects at GCSE has stagnated at 47.9% of the total, an arguably unsurprising result since the core sciences and maths are compulsory. There was a fall in numbers taking non-mandatory STEM subjects including computing. engineering, design and tech and statistics.
Here are the grade results analysed in more detail:
Overall, the number of girls taking STEM subjects mandated by the curriculum (maths and core science subjects or dual-award science) increased 1.1% year on year, in line with the boys. Sadly, there was a year-on-year drop across the additional STEM subjects with Statistics (down 27%), Engineering (down 11.4%), Computing (down 2.2%) and Design and Technology (down 7.5%).
Computing: the number of female entrants at GCSE was 20.6% of the total compared with 21.2% in 2020.
There was a 2.2.% drop for both boys and girls taking Computing GCSE in 2021 compared with 2020. This trend is surprising since the numbers of girls taking A-Level Computing in 2021 increased by a whopping 63% compared with 2020.
Engineering: the number of female entrants at GCSE was 13.9% of the total, the same as in 2020.
The number of girls taking engineering fell 11.4% in 2021, even though their number as a percentage of the total entrants remained the same year on year (13.9%). There was an almost equivalent drop of 11.2% of boys taking the subject compared with 2020 (51 fewer girls compared with 307 fewer boys took the subject year on year).
Design and Tech: the number of female entrants at GCSE was 30.5% of the total compared with 29.3% in 2020.
Despite a considerable drop in female entrants across many of the non-curriculum STEM subjects, the number of girls taking Design and Tech as a percentage of the total was 30.5 in 2021 compared with 29.3 in 2020.
In terms of GCSEs chosen, the old gender paradigms are still in place with just 2% of students taking home economics were boys, and only 11% of students taking construction were girls. That said, with many of the core STEM subjects being mandatory, gendered choices are less obvious at GCSE than in further or higher education.
progress to a level 4+
are in the