Number of students with GCSE ICT drops 17% fuelling greater industry concern

Jenny Williams

Following last week's A-level results, this morning's GCSE results confirmed industry fears that the UK is not producing the new IT talent needed in the sector.

Industry experts have warned that the 17% drop in the number of students taking GCSE ICT compared with 2009 showed a worryingly low number of new entrants needed to meet demand for IT staff in UK businesses.

A total of 61,022 students took GCSE ICT this year compared with 73,519 last year - a drop of 17%. This year's figure shows a 41% drop in the number of young people who took IT-related GCSEs compared with 2005, when 103,400 students gained GCSE ICT.

The GCSE ICT short course also showed the biggest decrease of all GCSE subjects, dropping 27% compared with last year.

Last week's A-level results sparked industry concern after numbers showed a 24% drop in the number of young people who took IT-related A-levels compared with 2005.

Following last week's A-level results, the IT industry warned of a "dreadful state of affairs", with the number of students opting for IT courses falling. The IT professional workforce is forecast to grow at four times the average for the UK and it will need 500,000 new entrants over the next five years. Industry experts are blaming dull IT courses for the low student uptake.

View this year's GCSE results here.

Year Number of ICT candidates % of total GCSEs sat
2005 103,400 1.8
2006 109,601 1.9
2007 99,656 1.7
2008 85,599 1.5
2009 73,519 1.3
2010 61,022 1.1

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