Entries for A level maths, sciences and humanities are up


More teenagers are taking the difficult A-level subjects favoured by Oxbridge this year following a Government campaign to drive up academic standards.

Entries for the ‘facilitating subjects’, which include maths, the sciences, English, geography and history, have risen by 13 per cent since 2010 to 435,583 and now account for just over half of all qualifications taken, official figures show.

The numbers taking maths have risen by more than half in a decade. Take-up has gone from 7 per cent of pupils in 2006 to 11 per cent this year, when there were 93,000 candidates.

Geography, English literature and history have also seen year-on-year rises but so-called ‘Mickey Mouse’ courses have fallen out of favour, with take-up of general studies falling by a quarter to 17,400.

However, languages suffered this year, with a drop in numbers taking French and German, although Spanish saw a rise in entries.

In 2011, the Russell Group of top universities produced a guide listing the subjects most useful for would-be entrants.

This year’s figures are believed to show the highest take-up since then.

Preliminary statistics released by the Joint Council for Qualifications show that the take-up of facilitating subjects has increased by 0.8 per cent since last year.

The change follows new performance measures which mean schools are now judged on the number of pupils that achieve a C or above in tougher subjects at GCSE.