Official figures from the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) released this morning show a significant rise in the number of female entries for GCSE computing.
Overall entries for GCSE computing saw a rise of 7.2% to 80,027, with entries from females showing a huge increase of 14%. However, proportionally, females still only make up 21.4% of all GCSE computing entries, at 17,158.
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Other STEM subjects were less affected gender-wise, with females continuing to outperform males in biology and chemistry, and males taking the lead in physics and maths.
However, the gap in maths is narrowing, with 16.7% of male entries receiving a 7 (A) grade, compared to 15.5% of females, whose performance at this level increased by 0.6pp compared to a slight decline of 0.1pp by males.
Update from BCS:
Speaking to ET, Julia Adamson, director of education at BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, said: “I’m delighted that an increasing number of young people are deciding take computer science at GCSE, and it’s encouraging to see that the proportion of girls is growing. Computer science is a wonderfully exciting and creative subject, which equips young people with knowledge and thinking skills that are so important in the digital world of today and tomorrow.”
Update from CWJobs:
Dominic Harvey, director of CWJobs, said: “Whilst the year-on-year rise in the number of students taking computing as an GCSE subject across the UK is very positive, the education system and government must do more to make these subjects appeal to both girls and boys.
“Much like most STEM subjects, we’re seeing a rise in the number of girls taking computing; however the majority taking the subject firmly remains boys. A great way to increase this is by promoting the diversity of possible future careers subjects such as computing can lead to, that are outside any redundant stereotypes.
“Tech skills are used in various industries from sports to agriculture, from cars to movies. Once students can understand where it can take you, computing’s popularity can only rise.”