GCSEs 2021: Results at a glance

What were the differences in the proportion of top grades this year? How did girls' and boys' results compare? Here's the data and details you need for results for all GCSE entries 2021

Catherine Lough

gcse results day 2021

GCSE results were released this morning, revealing an expected growth in the proportion of top grades and a slightly smaller rise in the overall pass rate for all entries as students received their teacher-assessed grades.

After public exams were cancelled for the second year in a row, students this year were awarded grades by their teachers based on a range of evidence, including classwork, coursework and mock exams.

Here are the headline figures this year from all entries in England:

Top GCSE grades are up

The proportion of entries graded 7/A or above has risen by 2.6 percentage points to 28.5 per cent overall.

At grade 4/C, there was a rise of 1pp from 2020, with 76.9 per cent of entries awarded this grade compared with 75.9 per cent the previous year.

And at grades 1/G and above, the overall rate is 99 per cent, a fall of 0.6pp on last year.

GCSE Results Day 2021 overall grades

GCSE results by gender

The gender gap at grade 7/A and above has risen by 1pp since last year. In total, nearly a third – 32.9 per cent of entries – from girls were awarded the top three grades compared with 24.1 per cent of entries from boys, widening the gender gap to 8.8pp.

But the gender gap has narrowed at grade 4/C, with 73.4 per cent of entries from boys and 80.4 per cent of entries from girls achieving a GCSE pass, a gap of 7pp compared with 7.9pp last year.

GCSE Results Day 2021 gender

Results in GCSE English

In English, 22 per cent of entries scored the top three grades, and the pass rate at 4/C rose slightly to 73.6 per cent.

GCSE Results Day 2021 English

Modest rises in outcomes were also seen in English literature, in which 25.7 per cent of entries achieved grade 7/A or above and 80.3 per cent secured a pass.

GCSE Results Day 2021 English Lit

Results in GCSE maths

In maths, 20.6 per cent of entries achieved grade 7/A or above compared with 18.9 per cent last year.

And 69.2 per cent of entries secured a pass compared with 66.4 per cent in 2020.

GCSE Results Day 2021 maths

GCSE history and geography

In history, 32.3 per cent of entries scored the top three grades compared with 29.4 per cent in 2020. There was a similar rise in pass rates, with 76.2 per cent of entries achieving a 4/C grade or above compared with 74.4 per cent last year.

GCSE Results Day 2021 history

In geography, 34.3 per cent achieved a grade 7/A or above and 76.8 per cent achieved a pass, compared with 75.5 per cent in 2020.

Geography also had the second-highest increase in entries, and the highest increase in entries at A level on Tuesday. At GCSE, there was a 4.2 per cent increase in entries to 266,903.

GCSE Results Day 2021 geography

GCSE German, Spanish and French

German entries saw a dip of 9.4 per cent on 2020, with 36,933 entries this year. But the subject also had the highest leap in top grades, with 38 per cent of entries achieving a 7/A or better compared with 34.1 per cent last year.

GCSE Results Day 2021 German

Spanish had the highest rise in entries by percentage of any GCSE, with a 4.5 per cent increase to 108,982 entries.

And 34.4 per cent achieved the top three grades compared with 32.5 per cent last year, while the pass rate rose by 1.5pp to 83.3 per cent.

GCSE Results Day 2021 Spanish

French continues to be the most popular modern language subject at GCSE, with 124,739 entries, and it also saw a rise in the top grades: 32.9 per cent achieved a grade 7/A or above compared with 29.9 per cent in 2020, and the pass rate rose by 1pp to 83.1 per cent.

GCSE Results Day 2021 French

Entry levels for all three modern foreign languages remained broadly stable compared with 2020 entry numbers.

GCSE sciences: biology, chemistry and physics

An interesting picture in the three sciences, in which the proportion securing top grades rose but the pass rate fell.

In biology, 55.8 per cent of entries secured grade 7/A or above compared with 52.8 per cent last year, but the pass rate fell by 0.5pp to 94.1 per cent.

GCSE biology results

In chemistry, the proportion of top grades rose by 1.4pp to 54.6 per cent but the pass rate fell by 1.4pp to 94.3 per cent.

GCSE Results Day 2021 chemistry

And in physics, grades 7/A rose by 2.3pp to 55.3 per cent, but the pass rate fell by 0.8pp to 95.3 per cent.

GCSE Results Day 2021 physics

For double award entries, 12.2 per cent of entries secured the top three grades compared with 10.4 per cent last year, and the pass rate rose by 0.3pp to 64.7 per cent.

GCSE Results Day 2021 double award

In terms of entry levels, physics had a boost of 4 per cent to 163,878 entries, chemistry also had a 4 per cent rise to 165,188 entries, and biology entries increase by 3.4 per cent to 170,949.

GCSE art, music, drama and D&T

Arts subjects also experienced a decline in their overall pass rates but a boost in top grades.

In art and design, 30.2 per cent secured a grade 7/A or more, a rise of 0.6pp from 2020 - the smallest increase in the proportion of top grades for any subject. The pass rate fell from 86.4 per cent to 84.8 per cent.

GCSE Results Day 2021 art and design

In music, half of entries – 50.2 per cent – secured one of the top three grades, compared with 46 per cent in 2020. The pass rate fell by 1.1pp to 88.1 per cent.

GCSE Results Day 2021 music

In drama, 40.6 per cent of entries secured a grade 7/A or more, a 3.9pp rise on 2020, but the pass rate fell by 2pp to 85.2 per cent.

GCSE Results Day 2021 drama

And in design and technology, 30.1 per cent secured the top three grades, a 2.5pp rise on 2020, but the pass rate fell by 2.1pp to 76.9 per cent.

GCSE Results Day 2021 design technologyGCSE computing

Computing had a boost of 5.9pp at the top three grades to 39.4 per cent, while the pass rate rose by 2.3pp to 82.4 per cent. 

GCSE Results Day 2021 computing

Physical education

Results have gone up to the greatest extent in physical education at grade 7 or above, with a 7.1pp rise on 2020.

At grade 4/C, there was a rise of 1.4pp to 87 per cent.

PE outcomes

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author bio

Catherine Lough

Catherine Lough is a reporter at Tes.

Find me on Twitter @CathImogenLough

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