Computer Science fastest growing STEM subject

LONDON (Aug. 24, 2023) — On results day, the professional body for computing, BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, congratulates the 87,660 people awarded a GCSE in computer science, the fastest growing STEM subject.

GCSE* entries increased overall by 3% in 2023, but Computer Science entries grew by 12% overall (10% female and the fifth highest growing, 12% male, and the third highest growing) outstripping overall growth - proving that the subject is attractive amongst all students.

Females taking Computer Science continue to get higher grades than males with 29.9% achieving A/7 and above and 22.9% male.

Julia Adamson, Managing Director, Education & Public Benefit, at BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT said: "Congratulations to everyone who sat this year's GCSE exams. I hope that many of the pupils getting their results today will continue to develop their knowledge in this subject and I wish them every success in their future careers.

There is continuing concern about the uptake amongst girls**. This is surprising considering girls do really well and achieve great grades.

We need to see more girls studying this exciting and creative subject. Digital skills are vital for everyone as they provide the tools to take an active part in society, support career prospects and help drive the economy.

Encouraging more girls to take computing is a complex issue – we need to change parental and societal perceptions around the subject and increase awareness of the importance of the subject.

Growing interest in computing

Figures show that there is a growing interest in computing, but we need to influence school leaders and teachers around the importance of primary and secondary computing education. It plays such a significant role in helping young people acquire the important life skills they need as technology continues to play a rapidly increasing part in our everyday lives.”

Total UK entries, GCSE Computer Science:

2023 - 90558
2022 - 81120
2019 - 80027

*Source for figures:

Joint Council for Qualifications
Council for the Curriculum, Examinations & Assessment

**There were a range of participation rates in England, Northern Ireland and Wales.

In England 21% of the entries for GCSE computer science were females.

In Wales 15% of the entries for GCSE Computer Science were females and 28% of the entries for the GCSE in Digital Technology were females.

In Northern Ireland: 36% of entries for Digital Technology Multimedia and 24% for Digital Technology Programming.

Some areas show promise in terms of attracting young women to study digitally-driven subjects, however, there seems to be little headway being made in establishing a better balance of male:female participation in computing generally, something that persists into tertiary education and work.