Schools judged on physics and maths

Salisbury Journal: Education Minister Elizabeth Truss warned that England is still suffering from 'science deserts' with too few youngsters, especially girls, studying the subject at A-level Education Minister Elizabeth Truss warned that England is still suffering from 'science deserts' with too few youngsters, especially girls, studying the subject at A-level

Schools and colleges are to be judged on the numbers of teenagers studying maths and physics at A-level, it has been announced.

The move is part of a bid by ministers to encourage sixth-formers to take the key subjects past the age of 16.

It comes just days after Education Minister Elizabeth Truss warned that England is still suffering from ''science deserts'' with too few youngsters, especially girls, studying the subject at A-level.

Latest figures show that nationally, 2% of girls' A-level entries are in physics while 8% of their entries are for maths. Among boys, 7% of A-level entries are in physics and 14% are in maths.

The new measure will show the proportions of girls and boys studying A-levels in maths, further maths and physics in every school sixth-form and sixth-form college in England.

The first data for this new measure, based on the numbers studying the subjects in 2012/13, is due to be published next month. In future, the information will be included in annual school league tables.

Ms Truss said: "Maths and physics are essential for success in all walks of life from marketing to engineering and it is vital that we get young people excited about those subjects and their potential.

"Since the introduction of the English Baccalaureate (EBacc), record numbers of pupils are taking triple science GCSE. To carry that success through to A-level, we need the new maths and physics transparency measure to identify those areas where take up at A-level is unacceptably low.

"Parents, schools and businesses can then challenge the status quo while we target resources at the science deserts to transform them into science oases."

The EBacc is a measure recognising the proportion of children who score at least a C at GCSE in English, maths, science, history or geography and a foreign language.

In a speech last week, Ms Truss warned that the "pipeline of talent" in maths and science is broken at age 16.

" 'At the moment, at half of all mixed state schools, no girls do A-level physics," she said.

''We want to eradicate these science deserts. We want every single school to be offering these kinds of science subjects.''

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