Number of girls taking GCSE Computing jumps, but STEM subjects take a nose-dive overall

GCSE results


The number of girls taking Computing at GCSE level has increased by 4.32%, but the number of students taking key STEM subjects saw a dip this year.

As students open their GSCE results today, the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) has revealed data showing that despite the rise, girls still remain outnumbered in Computing, making up just 21.28% of the total number of students.

Furthermore, the total number of students sitting for STEM subjects in 2022 decreased by 1.58%. Data from JCQ for male and female GCSE students revealed: Engineering (10.44%), ICT (5.68% decrease), Mathematics (3.50%), Further maths (0.22%) and Physics (1.01% decrease).

There was an 8.35% increase in female students taking an Engineering GCSE this year, yet the number of males taking the subject decreased by 13.48%. However, girls still only made up 17.47% of the total number of students.

Agata Nowakowska, Area Vice President EMEA, Skillsoft: “Following last week’s A Level results, it’s excellent to see that this year’s GCSE results are showing a different picture, with the number of girls taking Computing and Engineering increasing by 4.32% and 8.35%. The increased investment in encouraging girls into the sector is paying dividends, and we must keep that momentum going.”

“However, whilst it’s wonderful to know that the many programmes and initiatives supporting girls are working, female students remain outnumbered in most STEM subjects. Schools must continue to find new ways to keep girls engaged in STEM as they age. Businesses also have a part to play and should work to showcase female role models, organise technology-related events and consciously target girls in their recruitment efforts.”

STEM skills gap concerns 

According to Nowakowska, with the UK’s economic future contingent on closing the skills gap, these figures highlight the need for further investment in initiatives to support and encourage young people into the sector.

“Schools and businesses need to work in tandem to showcase the career paths available and offer young people a clear way to gain the vital skills needed,” she added.

“It’s also essential to support organisations such as In2scienceUK, which are working to help young people from disadvantaged backgrounds get into STEM. At the end of the day, investing in the youth is an investment in the future.”

40% of female students received an A or A* in Computing, Engineering, ICT and Physics in 2022. Over 50% of female students received an A or A*in Biology and Chemistry.