Department for Education
Results back to pre-pandemic levels as grading returns to normal
Top grades and standard passes in line with 2019, as part of the final step back to normal grading.
Over 640,000 young people are celebrating receiving GCSE results today and over 390,000 vocational qualifications are being awarded today as young people prepare to move on to the next phase of their education. The proportion of entries achieving top grades (grade 7 and above) and standard passes (grade 4) are consistent with 2019, as grading moves back to normal.
Reflecting the fact that digital is one of the fastest growing industries and contributes significantly to the UK economy, there has been an 13.5% increase in pupils taking computer science since 2019 including more girls. There are similar trends at A level.
Schools Minister, Nick Gibb said:
Pupils receiving their results today should feel very proud. I want to congratulate them all and give my thanks to the hardworking teaching staff that have helped them throughout this period.
Today’s results are a testament to this government’s longstanding work to drive up standards and expanding opportunities for all in our education system.
Pupils collecting results today can progress to one of many high-quality options including A levels, T Levels and apprenticeships.
GCSE entries to modern foreign languages (MFL) this year increased by 5.1% compared to last year, and 9.2% compared to 2019, with increases in Spanish and French. This is ahead of the additional £14.9m investment for the language hubs programme due to start in September.
Entries to subjects in the English Baccalaureate (EBacc), subjects which are considered essential to many degrees and other opportunities, have also seen an increase this year including in computer science and history.
Total entries across all EBacc subjects is up by 3.9% this year compared to last year, and 11.2% compared to 2019. This builds on the government’s progress in raising standards in schools, with record numbers of schools rated good or outstanding, up from 68% in 2010 to 88% in December 2022.
The gap between independent schools and academies at grade 7 has narrowed from 33.3% in 2021 to 27.5% in 2022 to 25.5% in 2023. It has also narrowed from 26.5% in 2019.
Pupils collecting results today will progress to one of many high-quality options including A levels, hundreds of apprenticeship routes, vocational technical qualifications (VTQs) or T Levels. From September, students will be able to study new T Levels in legal and agriculture, with further options available over the next few years, and adding to the 16 already available in subjects such as health, engineering and digital.
Grading has returned to normal this year for the first time after the pandemic, in line with plans set out by Ofqual over two years ago. This is to ensure that grades maintain their value and pupils get the result that best represents their performance.
Top grades for 16 year olds in England are in line with 2019, with 22.4% of entries achieving a grade 7 and above. This is up 0.6 percentage points (ppt) from 2019. This year’s results show that 70.3% of entries received a grade 4 or above – a standard pass – which is up 0.4ppt from 2019.
To recognise the disruption pupils faced because of the pandemic, pupils did receive extra support with formulae and equation sheets for GCSE maths, physics, and combined science exams, so there were fewer things to remember going into the exam. Exams in the same subject were also spread out more meaning students had more time to revise between papers.
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