Eleanor Busby

Reaching the peak? Mystery surrounds new top grade

Despite claim that ‘only two’ students will get straight grade 9s in their GCSEs, some experts beg to differ

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Just how many students will get a clean sweep of top grades in the new, harder GCSEs?

The world of education was left scratching its collective head last week after a top Department for Education adviser suggested that the answer would be just two.

The remark from Tim Leunig, the DfE’s chief analyst and chief scientific adviser – just weeks before the start of exams – shocked many teachers still grappling with the new GCSEs and grading scale.

The 9-to-1 grading scale was introduced to better recognise the achievements of highattaining pupils. Under the new system, a grade 9 – the new top ...

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