GCSE results show 20% of entries received A or A*

by Emily

750,000 students in England, Wales and Northern Ireland received their GCSE results today. An analysis of overall trends in this year's GCSE results yields findings almost identical to those of last week's A-level results.

These were the main trends:

  • One in five exam papers received an A or A* grade - the best GCSE results to date.
  • The overall pass rate was 98.6%.
  • There was a return to traditional subjects, with entries for Physics GCSE up by 21%; Chemistry GCSE up by 20% and Biology GCSE up by 18%. Maths GCSE, which has the highest number of entries overall, had 2.21% more entries this year.
  • The gap between boys and girls has narrowed, with boys performing better than girls in Maths for the first time since 1997, although girls performed slightly better in most other subjects.
  • The number of pupils sitting GCSE English and English literature and scoring a C or above fell by 0.2%.
  • There has been a decline in the number of pupils taking language GCSEs - this statistic has declined each year since 2005 when the government removed the mandatory requirement for pupils to take at least one language GCSE.

It seems that the choice of school makes all the difference to pupils' overall performance at GCSE. Grammar schools yielded the best results this year, with 55% of all GCSE exams receiving an A or A*. This figure was 53.7% for independent schools and just 17.3% for comprehensives. However, the biggest year-on-year improvement came from private schools, who experienced a 2.5% increase in the number of A and A* grades awarded, compared with 0.4% in grammars and 0.9% in comprehensives.