Science is no longer being seen as a traditional male subject in Britain’s schools, according to new vocational exam figures.
This year’s BTEC results show a 27 per cent rise in the number of girls opting for the sciences, with the number of girls gaining the Applied Science level 3 – the equivalent of A level – is higher than boys for the first time, at 54 per cent to 46 per cent.
Other BTEC subjects such as engineering and ICT are still male-dominated, with 95 per cent of those gaining a level 3 engineering qualification being male as well as 83 per cent of those taking ICT.
But Pearson UK, the parent company for the BTEC exams which issued the results yesterday, noted that “the percentage of female students taking these subjects has increased since last year by 11 per cent for ICT and 53 per cent for engineering”.
Girls are also outperforming boys. One in four girls who took Applied Science at level 3 gained a distinction star – the highest grade – compared with 14 per cent of boys, while 36 per cent of girls taking ICT gained the top grade compared to 21 per cent of boys.
Lesley Davies, vice-president (quality, standards and research) at Pearson UK, said: “It looks like the effort that teachers and the industry have put into promoting the accessibility of these subjects to girls is starting to pay off.
“There is still a long way to go to address the gender imbalance… but our statistics show that, when girls sign up to these vital subjects, they really excel.”