Record numbers of pupils are taking the new English Baccalaureate (EBacc), the Department for Education has revealed.
According to provisional GCSE results for state-funded schools in the academic year 2013-14, some 38.7 per cent of pupils entered EBacc subjects such as science, history or geography - a rise of 3.2 percentage points on the previous year's figures
Some 23.9 per cent of youngsters achieved the EBacc measure - an increase of 1.1 percentage points on the 2013 statistic.
Receiving an EBacc is conditional on securing a C or better in English, maths, two sciences, history or geography and a language - the subjects most valued by universities and employers.
Entries for non-EBacc qualifications have almost halved, following reforms to the education system that have led to large numbers of less useful qualifications being taken out of performance measures.
However, there has also been a fall in the number of pupils achieving five or more A* to C grades at GCSE level, after the government brought in changes to make the qualifications more rigorous.
GCSE results have fallen by 6.6 percentage points for all schools - from 59.2 per cent in 2012-13, to 52.6 per cent in 2013-14. In state schools, they dropped by 4.7 percentage points - from 60.6 per cent to 55.9 per cent.
There has also been an increase in the number of people taking A-levels in facilitating subjects, according to separate statistics. The proportion doing so rose by 1.1 percentage points, from 53.9 per cent to 54.9 per cent.
Maths became the most popular A-level for the first time, while the number of pupils taking biology, chemistry and physics all increased.
Education secretary Nicky Morgan said: "I am delighted to see more and more young people taking the high-quality subjects that will properly prepare them for life in modern Britain.
"With record numbers taking science at GCSE, and maths now the most popular subject at A-level, our plan for education has finally reversed the decline in key academic subjects."
Posted by Alan Douglas