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The Royal Society comments on GCSE results 2017

24 August 2017

Professor Steve Furber CBE FRS, Chair of the Royal Society’s Computing Advisory Group, commenting on the GCSE level results released today, said:

“The hard work and determination of pupils and teachers is reflected in today’s results. The Royal Society would like to congratulate all pupils on their results, we wish them every success as they move on to the next stage in their education.

“Science, maths and computing enable young people to understand the world around them and are fundamental components of a broad curriculum. Skills gained from studying these subjects will enable the students getting their results today to thrive in the modern world.

“The Society is pleased to see that the number of 16 year old pupils taking computing has increased by 8.4% this year, further building on the progress made last year. We hope that this continues to translate into an increase in students taking computer science at A Level. There is more to be done to ensure that all pupils have the opportunity to study computing at GCSE. In particular, the gender disparity in computing is stark, with girls accounting for only 19.8% of GCSE Computing and 38.7% GCSE ICT entries. Later this year, the Society will publish the results of its study of computing in schools, and will make recommendations about how to maintain the growth of this subject. 

“2017 sees the introduction of a new mathematics GCSE. The curriculum has changed significantly, as has the grading structure. We hope the new GCSE will inspire many more students with grades 4, 5 and above to continue to study mathematics next year, either Core Mathematics, AS or A level Mathematics and Further Mathematics; Sir Adrian Smith's recent Review has made clear the positive impact this would have on an individual's earnings and employment potential, as well as on the nation's productivity. We will be monitoring the impact of the changes in the autumn, including whether they have heightened the inequalities in 16-18 mathematics participation across the regions identified in the Smith Review.”