GCSE pupils gaining knowledge and skills for future success as pupils across the country celebrate success in new gold-standard GCSE qualifications.

Today, hundreds of thousands of GCSE pupils up and down the country are celebrating as they receive their results. Figures show there were more than five million entries in GCSEs in England this year, up 0.9% on last year, despite a decrease in the number of 16 year olds in the population, with around 90% of entries being in our new, gold standard reformed qualifications.

Today’s results show that among 16-year-olds in England:

  • Entries into the core academic subjects that best keep pupils’ options open – the English Baccalaureate – have gone up by 1.2% with attainment improving in these subjects;
  • Entries into modern foreign languages have increased, driven by rises in Spanish (up 5.3%) and German (up 2.5%) while entries in French have remained broadly stable in line with population change;
  • Entries into individual sciences have increased – 22.8% in biology, 19.2% in chemistry, 17.6% in physics and 10.8% in computer science;
  • Entries into geography and history have increased by 4.7% and 2.2% respectively;
  • Entries and attainment in maths are broadly stable, with 71% of entries getting a grade 4 or above (up from 70.7% last year);
  • Entries in English subjects are broadly stable and attainment has increased, with 71.8% of entries getting a grade 4 or above (up from 71.2% last year); and
  • There is a narrowing of the gap in attainment between girls and boys at grades 4/C and above (down 0.5 percentage points on last year), with 73.8% of girls getting these grades compared to 64.6% of boys. This pattern is repeated among the top grades (grade 7/A and above), where the gap is down 1.1 percentage points on last year – 24.6% of entries by girls compared to 18.1% for boys.

More broadly the results show:

  • London remains the strongest performing region, while almost all other regions have seen improved performance on last year – with the South West seeing the biggest improvement at grades 4/C and above; and
  • Girls outperformed boys at the top grade 9 – Ofqual figures show 732 pupils who sat seven or more reformed GCSEs have managed to get straight 9s across those subjects - 68% of this group were female and 32% male. This year 2,025 candidates achieved all grade 9s in English language, English literature and maths compared to 2,050 last year.

Following on from the introduction of reformed maths and English GCSEs last year, these pupils were the first to take new, more rigorous GCSE exams in 20 subjects, graded 9 to 1.

The more rigorous content better prepares pupils for the world of work or further study. The 20 new gold-standard GCSEs – including the sciences, French, German, Spanish, history and geography – are now on par with expectations in countries with high performing education systems.

In response to today's GCSE Results

KevinCourtney100x100Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the National Education Union (NEU), said:

“Congratulations to the students and teachers on achieving their results today, even with the issues with this years’ grading.

“Today’s results confirm that the DfE must abandon the delusional expectation that 90% of children will take the EBacc. Teachers and leaders, who know their pupils better than Ministers ever could, continue to reject the policy, and EBacc entries are now declining.

“This year it has been impossible for teachers to predict their students’ results because of a lack of certainty in the new 9-1 grade boundaries. By design, success is being rationed and fewer people have received the top grade of a 9 than used to receive an A*: we are already hearing that students who were hoping for the highest grade have been disappointed to receive an 8, as they no longer see themselves as one of the highest attainers. As well as impacting students individually, this could lead to a substantial increase in requests for papers to be re-marked.

“This year only 24% of 17-year-olds passed maths, and 33% of the cohort passed in English Language. Overall, the number of students who passed maths has dropped by 2.8 percentage points, and by 2.4 percentage points in English. The Government must acknowledge that their policy to force 17-year-olds to re-take English and maths until they obtain a pass grade (4 or above) is not in the best interests of students. It is a policy which is clearly not working as less than a third are passing their re-sits.”

david hughes 100 x100David Hughes, Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges, said:

“Congratulations to all those students who have been successful in their exams and to the dedicated staff who have supported them in their English and maths resits.

“English and maths is a challenge for colleges. Colleges will continue to face the English and maths challenge while the Government insists on all 16- to 18-year-old students who haven’t achieved a grade 4 at GCSE resitting the exam. After five years of putting students through GCSE resits, colleges can confirm that the policy does not work and is an obstacle to the ambition that we all share for students.

"English and maths are crucial skills but teachers should be able to use professional judgement to decide on the most appropriate qualification for everyone."

Nick GibbSchool Standards Minister Nick Gibb said:

"Congratulations to all the pupils getting their results today. All of their hard work – and that of their teachers – has paid off and I hope that this is the first step to a bright and successful future. Whatever they choose to do next – whether it is staying at school, going to college, or starting an apprenticeship – these qualifications will give them a solid base of knowledge and skills that they can build on.

"Thanks to our reforms and the hard work of teachers, education standards are rising in our schools and pupils have shown their abilities by achieving excellent results today, with so many pupils meeting and exceeding the standards we expect."

Alan Woods OBE 100x100Alan Woods OBE, CEO of VTCT said:

“It’s encouraging to see strong pass rates across a range of subjects, and we’d like to really congratulate all students receiving their results today, particularly in the context of a major change to both the grading system and more stretching academic nature of this year’s GCSEs.

“However, whilst today’s results show a slight decline in the number of students securing a level 4 pass in English Language and pass rates in maths remaining broadly flat, we need to be taking further action, backed up by government funding, to dramatically improve the pass rates for those aged 17 or older retaking their maths and English GCSEs, some of whom have retaken these exams up to 9 times.

“Standards and graded outcomes are becoming more rigorous across all forms of learning, and business, government, schools and colleges need to promote the opportunities and benefits offered through all vocational  and technical education, including apprenticeships

“From hairdressing to software engineering, and from Law to spa management, relevant math’s and English qualifications are critical for students looking to pursue a technical qualification, an apprenticeship or for those intending to go to university.”

Patricia Finlayson, Senior Product Manager, Education, at Polycom:

“This week’s GCSE exam results have once again shown that, despite many female students achieving high results in STEM subjects, they are disparaged from studying them at higher levels. Social pressures play a key factor; according to a recent study by the Institute of Fiscal Studies, male dominance and low confidence are reasons as to why female students are opting to take their studies elsewhere, outside of the realm of maths and science subjects. We urgently need to change this perception; girls need access to women working in careers relating to these subjects. Let’s not forget that these are careers are often higher-paid.

“The effect of role models and mentors cannot be ignored and educators need to be demonstrating that girls are not only capable, but also encouraged to pursue a diverse array of studies. Take Highlands Ranch school in the US as an example. Here, female educators and mentors with STEM backgrounds interact with female students via video conferencing to inspire them to study STEM subjects. Collaboration technology and digital content is used as a key resource and learning tool to deliver education in new and exciting ways.

“The UK should follow suit and introduce initiatives for students to interact with educators and role models across a multitude of platforms to enhance their learning of STEM subjects. This can help demystify perceptions and stereotypes, as girls continue to be underrepresented in classrooms, boardrooms and entrepreneur lists. By acknowledging the role that females can play in building our digital and science skills, the UK can address gender diversity and remain competitive against other nations.”

Mark Rhodes, Recruitment Specialist, Reed:

“Whatever your grades on GCSE results day there are still plenty of options available to you.

"If you didn’t get the results you’d hoped for, you could choose to study a vocational qualification such as BTECs or NVQs, which combine studying subjects with practical learning. These could be a great option if you have a specific career or job in mind and want to gain more experience in your chosen industry. Employers particularly value these types of qualifications due to the practical skills they teach.

"Enrolling on an apprenticeship or internship could also be a way to help you make the transition from school to work. You’ll have the opportunity to work for a specific employer, earn money and learn practical job skills all whilst completing your qualification.

"Even if you don’t want to continue your studies, most employers value good GCSE results as a prerequisite, and often list minimum grades on job applications. If you’re unhappy with your results, or need a specific grade for entry to higher education you may want to consider retaking your exams to improve your grades.”

Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the Federation of Master Builders (FMB), said:

“It is deeply concerning that half of the nation’s young people felt pressurised into going to university. Indeed, this new research shows a pattern: the younger the generation, the more likely they were to feel pressurised into studying for a degree. In the past, academic education was often favoured over vocational studies but this view was always questionable and is now outdated. With GCSE results having just been published, we are urging students to give other career paths such as vocational training and apprenticeships serious consideration. A construction apprenticeship can lead to a fulfilling and rewarding career. Our recent research showed that the average university graduate in England earns £32,000 a year whereas your average bricklayer or roofer is earning £42,000 a year.

“The construction industry is facing a severe skills shortage and it’s therefore of utmost importance that more young people join the sector. We are calling on all parents and teachers to encourage those who are finding out their GCSE results today to consider a career in construction. We know that nearly all of the key trades have become harder to recruit in the second quarter of this year compared to the previous three months. But construction isn’t just mud and boots, there are careers of all kinds up for grabs including engineering and quantity surveying. The only way we can guarantee enough skilled construction workers in the future is by attracting more young people into the sector and training them to a high standard.”

Damian Corneal, Apprenticeship Programme Lead, at Accenture said:

"While the popularity of the new combined Science GCSE is encouraging, we still need to do more to tackle the STEM skills gap. Looking at key subjects like Computing, Engineering, ICT, and Maths, the number of girls taking these subjects has dropped or remained stagnant. We believe that Government, businesses, and the education sector need to work together to dispel any misconceptions about STEM and show more young people how applicable these skills are for a whole range of jobs.

“As they consider their career paths, we would encourage young people and their parents to remain open to the benefits of an apprenticeship, which will enable them to develop the specialist and practical skills required to thrive in the digital economy, while working towards a degree at the same time.”

David Lakin, Head of Education, the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) said:

“STEM education is very important from an early age and it's really positive to see an increase in more young people studying these subjects which could potentially open the door to an exciting and creative career as an engineer.

“However we need to look at the huge focus on maths and physics, as the role of an engineer is about solving creative challenges. It is important to harness students’ creativity and young people shouldn’t be discouraged from studying creative subjects such as design technology and the arts too.

“This is why a broad and balanced education for all young people is fundamental to the formation of future engineers, ensuring they have a rounded knowledge and skills required for engineering a better world for us all.

“It is vital that students are supported in their studies so that they are aware of the exciting range of engineering roles available to them. The country needs more people studying engineering subjects at university and taking up apprenticeships.”

As Ofqual has said, students picking up their results today can be confident they have achieved the grades their performance deserves. As in previous years, the tried and tested principle of comparable outcomes will ensure standards are maintained.

Pupils will now look forward to their next step. Many will have chosen to progress onto A Levels, which have also been reformed to better prepare students for the demands of university. Last week, A Level students achieved excellent results, with a record rate of 18-year-olds accepted to university.

In addition to this, thanks to broader reforms, young people now have several other high-class alternative options, including apprenticeships. These are giving Britain’s workforce the skills employers need in a wide range of industries from engineering to nursing, and law to design. An apprenticeship is a great way to progress after school, by getting a real job with substantial training to help develop transferable skills and kick-start a career. Apprentices do not have to contribute to the cost of their training so it can be a great option for those who want to earn and learn at the same time.

You may also be interested in these articles:

Advertisers

Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Newsroom Activity

FE News: The Future of Education News Channel shared a video in channel. 8 hours 38 minutes ago

South West Institute of Technology centre (SWIoT)

Petroc Principal Sean Mackney is supporting Love Our Colleges week by showing off the build of our South West Institute of Technology centre...

FE News: The Future of Education News Channel had a status update on Twitter 8 hours 40 minutes ago

RT @FrancisAlun: We talked a little bit about Oldham and social mobility with @TomBewick and guests. It was fun to do and #skillsworldlive…
View Original Tweet

Claire Russell has published a new article: Education world now putting more focus on planning 10 hours 54 minutes ago

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In May 2020, FE News had over 120,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.

Podcasts

We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.

Events

FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page