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Keeping up with the acronyms is always a challenge in education. First we had STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths), then we had STEMM (science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine) and now we have STEAM (the STEM subjects, plus the arts).

There’s been a fair amount of research into integrating the sciences and the arts in education – and beyond – in recent years. But when they’re given a choice, are students likely to opt for a STEAM combination of subjects? And is the popularity of STEAM on the rise?

In this post, I’ll try to answer these questions by looking at the subjects studied by Key Stage 5 students from 2017-21, using data from the National Pupil Database. Unfortunately data for 2022 isn’t available for research just yet.

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