This summer,118,949 entries (2.1 per cent) ended in failure compared with 107,495 (2.0 per cent) last year, based on provisional figures published this week.
The good news was that 56.6 per cent of entries earned at least a C grade - up 0.9 percentage points on last year. And becaus total GCSE entries rose 5.4 per cent, there were almost 100,000 more passes than last year.
Girls pulled even further ahead of boys with 61.1 per cent of female entries awarded a C grade or better, compared with 51.9 per cent of boys' entries.
High-flying female students also gained a greater share of the A* grades. This year, 5.6 per cent of girl candidates got the top grade compared with 3.7 per cent of boys.
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