Today’s GCSE results reveal another increase in top and pass grades across the UK.
The percentage of entries graded A/7 or above rose to 20.8 per cent, up 0.3 percentage points. This is the second successive time the proportion of top grades has increased since the reformed GCSE qualifications were first sat in 2017.
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The proportion of C/4 grades and above – considered as the "standard pass" – also increased slightly for the second year in a row to 67.3 per cent of entries, up from 66.9 per cent last year.
Both grades also rose above 2016 levels reaching a four year high.
GCSE results 'stable'
Philip Wright, director of the Joint Council for Qualifications, which represents all UK exam boards, said: "Students and teachers have done a great job during a period of reform as this year's results have been stable, with small increases in pass rates at 7/A and 4/C.
"Today, students should be celebrating their hard work with their friends, family and teachers as they look forward to the future."
Boys continued to narrow the gap at the pass rate, with 62.9 per cent of boys achieving a C/4 grade or above – up from 62.3 per cent last year – and 71.7 per cent of girls achieving a standard pass, up from 71.4 per cent the previous year.
This means the gender gap at C/4 has narrowed from 9.1 percentage points in 2018 to 8.8 this year.
At the top grades of A/7, the gender gap has stabilised at 6.5 percentage points – the same as last year – after narrowing from 7.3 percentage points in 2017.
Nearly one in four female entries – 24.1 per cent – gained a grade A/7 or above, compared with 17.6 per cent of male entries.
Overall, the percentage of entries achieving the bottom G/1 grades or better remained constant at 98.3 per cent.
The total number of GCSE entries has increased by 1.4 per cent since last year, reflecting an increase in the number of 16-year-olds, up 1.5 per cent since 2018.
However, in general, these results reflect a year of stability, as schools have adjusted to the reformed GCSE qualifications – a raft of more challenging courses introduced from 2017.
Education secretary Gavin Williamson said: “Today is a proud day for students, teachers and parents up and down the country, and I wish them all the very best for their results.”
“It should also be an exciting day. It’s a day that marks the culmination of years of hard work and opens doors that can create life-changing opportunities."