The number of students taking GCSE IT rose by over 14%, from 98,000 to 111,000 this year. The number taking short GCSE courses was up 11.4% and entry-level GCSE take-up rose by 17.9%.
The increase coincides with a significant growth in the number of older students taking IT at A-level. Many students are choosing to take a one-year IT course to supplement their main A-level choices.
The news has raised hopes that the IT profession may be beginning to lose its nerdy image. Research by the E-Skills National Training Organisation has shown that youngsters, particularly girls, are often put off the subject at an early age.
The number of girls taking IT at GCSE level is still lagging. Currently they comprise just 40% of candidates.