More pupils are now taking core academic GCSEs following the government's reforms to the education system.
New school-performance table figures reveal 90,000 more youngsters took the challenging EBacc last year - a 71 per cent increase on the 2010 statistic.
The number of pupils taking history or geography rose by 31 per cent, while those taking languages rose by 21 per cent.
An EBacc is achieved if pupils obtain a C or better in English, maths, two sciences, history or geography, and a language - the subjects most valued by universities and employers.
State-funded schools witnessed a significant rise in the number achieving the qualification - 24.2 per cent did so in 2013-14, compared with 15.1 per cent in 2010.
GCSEs have been changed so that only a pupil's first attempt at an EBacc qualification in performance tables counts, while less challenging vocational subjects have been removed from performance tables.
These reforms have led to an overall 5.8 per cent decline in the number of youngsters obtaining five A*-C grade GCSEs - from 59.2 per cent in 2012-13 to 53.4 per cent in 2013-14. State schools saw a four per cent decline in the number.
Education secretary Nicky Morgan said: "As a result of our plan for education we are seeing thousands more pupils taking the core academic GCSEs and A levels - those that open doors to future success.
"By pegging our exams to the best in the world, we are restoring rigour and giving students the skills they need to succeed in modern Britain."
At A-level, the number of entries for facilitating subjects - those most likely to open doors to more degrees - increased from 20,000 in 2009-10 to 407,674.
The popularity of science and maths has risen, and more girls are now taking the subjects. The number of girls taking physics rose from 5,689 in 2009-10 to 6,423 in 2013-14, while those taking maths increased by 7.3 per cent.
Posted by Theo Foulds