Increased numbers taking science subjects encouraging news, says Russell Group

19 August 2010

Dr Wendy Piatt, Director General of the Russell Group of research-intensive universities, said:

“First and foremost, A-level students deserve our congratulations for all their hard work and achievements this year.  

“Anyone who missed out on their grade offers for Russell Group universities, should try not to panic -- our admissions officers are available to give appropriate advice and information.

“It is very encouraging to see an increase in the number of students taking and achieving good passes in A-level sciences and maths.  We are pleased that our efforts to persuade students to consider carefully the real benefits of taking science and maths appear to be paying off.  The skills learned by taking these subjects are essential for many courses at leading universities particularly in engineering, economics and medicine and can significantly improve a student’s life chances. 

“It is still true, however, that too few students from state schools are opting for STEM (and particularly single science) subjects at GCSE, advanced level and university.  All students – particularly those from low-income backgrounds - must have access to appropriate information and guidance about the choices that will maximise their potential from an early age and we know that subject choices are crucial.  

“Although there has been a real increase in numbers of students at our universities from lower socio-economic groups we remain concerned about the under-representation of students from comprehensive schools among the highest achieving A-level candidates. Ensuring that students from low-income backgrounds fulfil their potential at school is by far and away the most effective way of increasing their chances of going to a leading university.”

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