Key Indicators in STEM Education

23 January 2017 Hannah Stanwix

Bringing together key data from across science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) education, we hope this report will be of use to policymakers, employers, members of the STEM education community and other interested parties.

Key Indicators in STEM Education

Published today is the third edition of our ‘Key Indicators in STEM Education’ report. The publication focusses on several key areas, including:

  • Trends in the numbers of individuals studying STEM GCSEs and A levels
  • Uptake of level 2 and 3 apprenticeships
  • Gender imbalance within STEM subjects

2016 saw an upswing in the numbers of young people taking Triple Science at GCSE, as well as an increase in the numbers studying Core Science and Additional Science. The picture for A levels, however, is less positive – entries to science A levels decreased for a second year running.

The report highlights the huge challenge faced in achieving a gender-balanced engineering workforce: only 4% of advanced apprenticeship starts in engineering in 2014/15 were girls. The issue extends beyond engineering apprenticeships: girls account for only 22% of Physics A level and 10% Computing A level entries.

Since a number of changes to teacher training in 2013/14, the recruitment of enough physics teachers has been difficult. This year saw an increase in the number of physics recruits (851); however, there is some way to go if the Government’s target of 1,055 is to be met.

The report ends by looking in detail at apprenticeship uptake. A unique aspect of the English apprenticeship system is the prevalence of older apprentices – only 6% of all apprenticeship starts in 2015/16 were 16 year olds. The trends over time of the most popular frameworks is also explored and the increasing popularity of higher apprenticeships – although still relatively low in number in STEM areas – is discussed.

The report is available to read here: If you would like a hard copy, please email

Key Indicators in STEM Education