Literature: GCE A-level

Department for Education written question – answered on 7th October 2019.

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Photo of Jo Stevens Jo Stevens Labour, Cardiff Central

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of trends in the number of children taking English Literature at A-Level in the last 10 years.

Photo of Nick Gibb Nick Gibb Minister of State (Education)

The Department values the three English A-levels and keeps the total number of English A-level entries under constant review. Overall, English is one of the top four most popular A-level subjects and has been a subject of choice for large numbers of students over the past 10 years. Studying English language or literature at A-level builds students’ understanding and appreciation of the English language and the depth and power of our rich and varied literary heritage. It also helps develop valuable critical and analytical skills. The Department has sought to encourage take up of English literature A-level through the 16-18 performance tables.

The Department understands that students choose their A-level qualifications carefully in order to keep their future career options open. Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects are required for studying a wide range of courses, and STEM skills are in shortage in the economy. The Department has seen total entries to STEM A-level subjects increase in 2019 compared to last year, despite a small decrease in the population, with an increase in the proportion of girls taking STEM subjects (3.2% increase). Entries in STEM subjects have now increased by 26.2% since 2010. Entries to history and geography have also increased this summer.

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