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English on the rise again at A-level and university

University lecturers are celebrating the news that English is showing signs of regaining its popularity at school.

University English, which represents all university English departments in the UK, hailed signs that applications to study the subject at degree level may also be rising. The news follows a decline in popularity in recent years to study English at A-level and beyond.

Professor Robert Eaglestone, spokesperson for University English, said:

 “After years of decline in popularity, it was incredibly heartening to see an increase in young people studying English at A-level last month. Early signs are that applications to study the subject at university may also be rising.”

According to the Press Association, English literature dropped by nearly a quarter (23%) between 2017 and 2022. This year has brought a welcome upturn, with entries up on 2022 by 3%. Early signs from universities in the UK suggest that the subject has also turned a corner.

The news comes ahead of a campaign to raise awareness of the importance of English subjects. University English, which is spearheading the campaign, will argue that more needs to be done to support a subject that holds immense value to the UK economy and society at large.

Professor Eaglestone continued:

Some degrees have received increased attention from government and the media in recent years, with subjects like English being sidelined. This is despite a booming creative economy worth £84bn, and favourable levels of employability in a rapidly evolving work culture.

“In an age of great uncertainty, we need more people to use their creativity to challenge the way the world works. And subjects like English, with its focus on communication and critical analysis, will become increasingly important in negotiating the advance of artificial intelligence.

“Studying English can future-proof skills for life, work and social change, with the breadth of the subject equipping students for constantly evolving careers.”