Institute urges girls to consider A-Level physics

25th August 2017
Lanna Cooper


In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, hundreds of thousands of students have recently received their GCSE results. And despite the fact that the overall population of 16 year olds is down in England, Wales and NI - by 2.7% on 2016 - overall GCSE entries are up by 3.9% to 5.4 million.

The Institute of Physics (IOP) was pleased to see that entries to Physics GCSEs are up, numbering 141 977, an increase of 1.6% on 2016 - representing 3.8% of the total sat, up from 2.7% last year. The proportion getting an A or A* grade in physics was 41.9%, whilst the proportion getting at least a C was 90.8%.

In Northern Ireland and Wales the numbers are also up, 3,035 students sat physics in NI, up 2.5% on 2016 and representing two percent of total entries, an increase from 1.8% last year. In Wales, 6,336 students sat physics, up 5.3% on last year and representing 2.1% of total entries, down from 2.3% last year.

Overall this year, a larger proportion of girls achieved a C or above than boys, 91.1% compared to 90.5% for boys. And in Additional Science GCSE, 10.6% of girls achieved A or A*, versus 7.3% for boys.

IOP, Head of Education, Charles Tracy said: "We’re very pleased to see young people choosing physics in increasing numbers, and warm congratulations to all students who got the GCSE results that they were hoping for today - or better. We know from research that many students - including a lot of girls - underestimate their ability in physics. But once again, the results show that a high proportion of 16 year olds do very well in physics and science more generally.  And that girls do at least as well as boys. GCSE results day is a good time for students to think again about their options - including about taking A-Level Physics - and to base their decisions on the evidence of their results rather than on any apparent lack of confidence.”

It is a key priority of the IOP to ensure access to high quality physics education for every pupil, and many of our projects and programmes contribute to the goal of increasing the proportion of young people studying physics and, within that group, increasing the number of girls.

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