BBC: Is UK focus on teacher professional development in math and physics driving explosion in A-levels in those subjects?

From the BBC:

…figures out today show that the total number of students entered for physics A-level has increased by 5%, from 32,860 in 2011 to 34,509 in 2012.

For mathematics, the story has been even more spectacular. Today’s results show continued increases in both maths and further maths, taking the numbers to the best in the 20 years since records have been kept – a total of 98,947 A-levels awarded.

Since 2003, A-level maths numbers have increased by 69% and A-level further maths by 149%.

So how has this turnaround occurred?

There is evidence that two teacher support schemes funded by the Department for Education and run by the Institute of Physics and Mathematics in Education and Industry are beginning to make a big difference.

The IOP runs a network in England designed to help science teachers teach physics, called the Stimulating Physics Network. The MEI has a similar scheme called the Further Mathematics Support Programme. There is compelling evidence that much of the rise in the numbers of A-level students comes from schools participating in the scheme.

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