And the results are in....#Alevelresults

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10 years’ ago today  I was the anxious sixth-former picking up my A-level results, so I know that today is one of nervousness and excitement for many young people across the country.

So firstly, on behalf of EEF and our members, let me say a huge congratulations to everyone who has received their results today. Now let’s take a look at what they mean….

The results are in....

  • Girls get the top grades (A* to B) in Physics (55.4%) staying strides ahead of their male counterparts (51.1%)
  • The gender gap of the number of girls taking physics compares to boys narrows but we are still some way off where we need to be
  • Top grades (A* to B) in Chemistry, Physics and Design & Technology suffer a minor drop
  • However, Maths and Biology see slight increases in those getting top marks

When girls do Physics, they do it good!

The gap between the number of girls and boys studying Physics at A level has always been a wide one, and while we’ve seen some slight narrowing, it’s still some way off where we would like it to be.

chart2

Now the reason why we moan and groan about this is because Physics at A level is a prerequisite to study a number of engineering disciplines at degree level, so if you don’t take it at A level, you can knock yourself about the running before you know it.

The good news is that when girls do study Physics, they do good! In fact 55.4% of girls taking physics this year achieved grades A* to B, compared to 51.1% of boys (sorry lads – but don’t worry you do grab the grades in the other STEM subjects.)

Clearly, when girls study subjects such as Physics they excel and have an aptitude for such disciplines. We just need to see more of them!

Top marks in STEM subjects hit and miss

There isn’t a lot to write home about when it comes to the changes to top grades awarded for the STEM subjects. In Chemistry, Physics and Design and Technology, the numbers achieving top marks suffered a slight dip, but those gaining top marks in Maths and Biology increased – so swings and roundabouts really.

PhysicsAlevel

 

Clearing is not the only option….apprenticeship anyone?

While it’s great to see so many happy faces outside colleges and sixth forms, and indeed over our newspapers and websites, we know there are a handful of young people who may not have got the grades they would have hoped for.

One option is to go through clearing (having seen friends go through this process all those many years ago I must say it looked fairly stressful, but if you definitely want to go to university, you’re prepared to take the pain). But there is another option…

An apprenticeship? No longer are apprenticeships seen as the route for 16 year olds, who don’t get the best marks at GCSE, they are increasingly attracting the best and brightest students both after GCSEs and A-levels.

An increasing number of manufacturers are now offering Advanced, Higher and even Degree Apprenticeships – and at this level they are looking for A-level and equivalent qualifications.

So, with 79% of manufacturers planning to recruit a manufacturing and engineering apprentice this year – maybe it’s time to start searching #Apprenticeship not just #Clearing today.

A prosperous career where you earn while you learn could be waiting for you just outside your doorstep….

 

Author

Head of Education & Skills Policy

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