Welcome to the Tes GCSE and A-level results 2021 live blog.
Here you will be able to catch up on the latest news, comment and reaction as we cover the week that students receive their teacher assessed grade results at the end of an academic year like no other following constant Covid disruption and cancellation of this summer's exams.
Stay tuned for breaking news, in-depth analysis, expert insight and discussion with teachers and school leaders on the front line.
GCSE results 2021: 'Covid is inequality wake-up call' - podcast special
Listen to a Tes panel of experts analysing the main GCSE outcomes for this year - from the rise in top grades in 2021 and contingency plans for 2022 to the widened attainment gap this year, and the purpose of assessment at age 16.
The roundtable features:
- Natalie Perera, chief executive of the Education Policy Institute
- Steve Rollett, deputy chief executive of the Confederation of School Trusts
- Steve Chalke, founder of Oasis Charitable Trust
- James Turner, chief executive of The Sutton Trust
- Danielle Babatunde, teacher of citizenship and sociology and founder of Transcend
- Ros McMullen, experienced headteacher and member of Headteachers' Roundtable
Btec results 2021: 230,000 receive level 2 grades
As well as GCSEs being annocuned today more than 230,000 Btec students have also received their results today –200,000 of them in schools.
The announcement comes as many Btecs face the axe as part of the government's reform of level 3 qualifications, which will position A levels, the new T levels and apprenticeships as the main routes.
GCSE results 2021: No long term plans for teacher assessment
Schools minister Nick Gibb MP has said the government is ruling out the use of teacher assessment to award GCSEs in the long term, as record-high results are recorded for a second year.
When asked by BBC Radio 4's Today programme if the goverment was ruling out using teacher assessments for GCSEs in the long run he replied: "Yes. We did have controlled assessment, teacher assessment in GCSEs prior to 2010 and they took up a vast amount of teaching time that should be better spent on teaching young people.
"And, also, the regulator did not feel that they were a fair way of assessing young people's achievements."
Despite this many have said the system will need reforming in light of the grade inflation that has occurred and that simply returning to exams as usual will be unfair on the next cohort set to sit exams.
GCSE results 2021: What should you do with the data?
In normal exam years analysing GCSE results data is key to help spot issues, areas of success and overall patterns that can inform next year's approach.
During the pandemic this has been harder, not least this year when TAGs have replaced exams and the analysis of data may seem less warranted. However, Sarah Barker, a teacher of English at Orchard School Bristol and former assistant headteacher and head of English says it is still a worthwhile exercise.
Here she offers tips and advice on how to analyse your data properly and what sort of questions you should be seeking to answer: GCSE results 2021: What should you do with the data?
IGCSEs 2021: Exam grades allowed to rise to match TAGs
International schools and their students have today received their IGCSE results – including for thousands of students worldwide who received both teacher-assessed grades (TAGs) and who sat exams.
The formal exams that did go ahead were part of the assessments offered by Cambridge International, which was the only exam board to push ahead with formal examinations.
Given the mix of exams and TAGs and the grade inflation TAGs caused, Cambridge International said it had eased the boundaries on exam grades to ensure a balance between the two sets of results.
GCSE results day 2021: Private schools see top grades increase
Private schools and free schools have seen the largest absolute increases in top GCSE grades this year, Ofqual's data has revealed.
At grade 7/A and above, outcomes are higher than 2020 to the greatest extent in private schools, with a 4pp rise, while free schools have also seen a rise in their proportion of top grades by 3.6pp.
At the 4/C pass rate, the differences compared to 2020 are greatest for FE colleges (+5.3pp) and sixth form colleges (+4.9pp).
Read the full story here: GCSE results day 2021: Private schools' top grade jump
GCSEs 2021: Results at a glance
GCSE results have now been released revealing an expected growth in the proportion of top grades and a slightly smaller rise in the overall pass rate for all entries as pupils received their teacher assessed grades.
However, the increase is perhaps not as high as some may have been expecting – although key grade boundaries have risen against 2019 and 2020 data.
We’ve collated all the top line data and key subject data in a series of graphs that you can see on our comprehensive round-up: GCSEs 2021: Results at a glance.
GCSEs results day 2021: Hard to put exams 'genie' back
As we await the 2021 GCSE results some are already warning it will be hard for ministers to “put the genie back into the bottle” and go ahead with formal exams after two years of teacher assessments and the grade inflation this is causing.
Professor Alan Smithers, director of the Centre for Education and Employment Research (CEER) at the University of Buckingham, has said if more top grades are awarded to GCSE pupils this summer - as they were for A-levels - it could have a major impact on how the value of grades is perceived.
“Plentiful top grades make pupils and parents happy, but they are less helpful for those using the grades for admission to the next stage of education or recruitment to employment.”
Professor Smithers added that it could even spark campaigns to replace GCSEs - including from parents: “With another bumper crop of top GCSE grades, the future of exams at age 16 is likely to come under threat. “There is already a pressure group to ditch them and if parents get a liking for plentiful top grades they may become involved.”
Don’t use lawyers for appeals, says Ofqual
Ofqual has updated its advice on appeals for GCSEs and A levels this year to advise pupils and families not to seek legal advice regarding appeals on grades.
The exams regulator updated its page on appeals to say: "You do not need to take legal advice to help you to submit an appeal."
It follows heads and teachers’ leaders branding law firms’ advertisements on legal advice for appeals as “depressing” and “immoral”.
International A level results mix exams and TAGs
While grades in the UK were achieved through the teacher assessed grade process, for many international schools and their pupils exams still went ahead in many regions under the Cambridge International curriculum.
As such there was a lot of apprehension over whether or not this would provide a level playing field between students sitting exams and those receiving TAGs.
However, so far indications are that the two elements have managed to co-exist reasonably well with several international heads telling Tes students in both camps have received the grades they need for their next stage of education and with few appeals being lodged.
Of course now all eyes will be on iGCSE results to see if a similar outcome is achieved.
Read more here.
Numerical A Level grades 'unrealistic' say heads
Reports are in this morning that the government could introduce numerical grades at A level to curb inflation levels, after record numbers of pupils secured an A or A* grade on results day yesterday.
But heads have condemned the plan as “unrealistic”.
Paul Whiteman, general secretary of the NAHT school leaders’ union, said that numerical grades at GCSE had been introduced with years of preparation alongside new specifications.
Meanwhile, Labour's shadow education secretary Kate Green said the plans were an example of "tweaking" the system.
After yesterday's record-breaking A level results, schools are now gearing up for tomorrow's GCSE outcomes.
While the final results won't be known until the morning, we can safely predict there will be another row about grade inflation.
It will be interesting to see which GCSE subjects have seen the biggest grade boosts and to what extent teacher-assessed grades have been adjusted by exam boards.
Also important will be data showing whether the attainment gap between different groups of pupils has widened, like it did for A levels this year.
But the big question is, can education secretary Gavin Williamson remember his own GCSE results? Or will they have faded into the mists of time to an even greater extent than his mysterious A Levels?
You catch up on the rest of yesterday's A Levels results day 2021 day news here.