Welsh students returning to science GCSEs

24 August 2017

There has been a sharp increase in entries to additional science and separate science GCSEs in Wales in 2017.

GCSE results


The total number of students sitting the additional science GCSEs (or double science) has increased by 26%, meaning that about 3,300 learners in Wales have moved to this course from other science qualifications. Science GCSEs offer students the best possible options for their progression in academic and technical STEMM qualifications and careers (science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine).

An increase in the number of students studying the GCSE course has affected the number of A*–C grades in additional science in Wales this year, with the proportion achieving a C or higher dropping by 5.9% (Wales saw a drop of 3.7% across all subjects.)

In the context of the higher number of additional science entries, almost certainly drawn from students with lower prior attainment, this drop is expected and actually represents better future prospects for pupils on these courses as they can consider a future in STEMM. The fact that the change is relatively small suggests that many students who were capable of obtaining an A*–C grade were not being given the best opportunity to study the GCSE course in previous years.

The Institute of Physics’ National Officer for Wales, David Cunnah, commented: “It is very important that as many Welsh students as possible are able to progress in science qualifications and careers. In previous years many pupils were placed on courses which effectively closed the door to their future in any scientific discipline, so we are pleased to see this trend reversing.”