She said: “Congratulations to the many students who, despite having dealt with the stress and pressure of rushed-in exam reforms, have done so well in their A-levels. It is good to hear that so many students will have the chance to go to university or onto an apprenticeship, if this is what they want to do.
“It is interesting to see that those achieving A* has decreased slightly, with A* achievements in maths down two percentage points on last year, and there is a slight dip across the cohort with 8% achieving the top A* compared to 8.3% in 2017. The South East and London continue to achieve higher grades then the rest of the country, which is of concern, although there has been some improvement in Yorkshire and Humberside.
“It is encouraging to see that more students are studying maths and sciences at A-level, and that this is increasing year-on-year. It is worrying, however, that there continues to be a decline in students studying languages such as French, Spanish and German, as well as in history, geography and, unusually, English, which are all important subjects to gain access to university or work.
“It is good that entries to STEM subjects continue to rise and although there are more males than females taking these subjects, female entries are increasing. Despite far fewer female entries in physics and D&T, this year they have achieved higher grades than males.
“It is positive to see that computer science entries have increased (by 24%). However, it is a shame that the Government didn’t listen to the profession when it chose to discontinue GCSE and A-level ICT. At the time we said that this decision could disadvantage females, as they are usually less likely to take computer science than ICT, and this is borne out in the entry patterns – 88% of entries were males.”