IT is becoming less and less popular as a subject option in schools, says Ofsted.

The schools regulatory body said 45 percent less girls and a third less boys picked the subject as an A-Level option in 2007 compared to in 2004.

Ofsted the slump may have been caused by the increase in pupils taking vocational qualifications rather than GCSEs, which it claims leads to fewer teenagers studying IT at A-Level. Ofsted said this creates a "serious" situation, as IT is increasingly important in later life when pupils start work.

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"ICT needs to be given high status, both by the government and in individual schools, in line with its importance to young people's future economic well-being," said Chief inspector of schools Christine Gilbert.

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