Number of computing students continues to fall

The number of students taking A Levels in computing and ICT has fallen for the eighth consecutive year.

Number of computing students continues to fall

This year, 4,002 students took the computing A Level – only 0.5% of the total student population. While that’s only a slight decline from 4,065 last year, it’s down from 8,488 in 2004.

Only 3.7% scored an A* grade in computing, compared to an average of more than 8% scoring that grade across all subjects. The 302 female students scored a bit better than their male counterparts, with 4.6% grabbing the top grade.


Steve Furber: why kids are turned off computing

The ICT course was more popular, with 11,960 students, or 1.4% of the total student body. In terms of grades, 3.5% of female students were awarded an A* score, topping the 1.8% of male students achieving the grade.

The shorter AS courses were more popular, with 8,097 taking computing and 21,100 taking ICT.

Students’ lack of interest in the subjects has the industry concerned.

“This is the eighth successive year that we have seen declines in numbers of students taking computing A Levels, a situation that is causing great consternation not only throughout the academic community, but also within commerce and industry,” said Professor Steve Furber, chair of the Royal Society Computing in Schools study, and famous designer of ARM processors.

“The diminishing enthusiasm for computing as a school subject contrasts starkly with the ever-increasing importance of computers in all areas of life, including business, government, home and entertainment, and threatens the UK’s ability to meet the workforce requirements of the knowledge economy, both now and in the future,” he said.

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