Fewer pupils gain five A*-C grades

Published: Thursday 23rd October 2014 by The News Editor

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Fewer teenagers scored at least five C grades in their GCSEs, including English and maths, this year amid major changes to the exams and school league tables, official figures show.

In total, just over half (52.6%) of pupils in England reached the five A*-C including the basics benchmark, according to statistics published by the Department for Education (DfE).

This is down from 59.2% who achieved the same standard last year, although Government officials said it was difficult to compare the latest results with previous years due to major reforms.

These include a move to cut thousands of vocational qualifications from school performance measures, and the decision that only a student’s first attempt at a GCSE will count in the league tables.

But the statistics also suggest that using last year’s methodology, around 56% of pupils achieved at least five Cs, including English and maths, this year – still down on last year’s results.

In state schools alone, 55.9% of pupils scored five A*-C grades including English and maths this year – a figure that rises to 59.6% using last year’s methodology.

In 2013, 60.6% of state-educated pupils reached this benchmark.

The Department for Education insisted that the falls across all types of schools comes amid crucial exam reforms it says are designed to ensure the qualifications remain of a high standard.

It added that most of the 4.7 percentage point reduction in state school pupils’ results, is down to early entry and vocational qualification reforms.

The latest figures show a rise in the number of pupils being entered for the Government’s English Baccalaureate.

The EBacc is a measure used in school league tables that recognises pupils who have scored at least a C at GCSE in English, maths, science, history or geography and a foreign language.

Almost two fifths (38.7%) of state school students took all parts of the EBacc this year, up from 35.5% in 2013.

And 23.9% of teenagers achieved the EBacc, compared to 22.8% last year.

There is also a widening gender gap, with girls outperforming boys.

Overall, 40.8% of girls entered for all of the EBacc subjects, compared to 31.7% of boys – a gulf of 9.1 percentage points. Last year, the gap was 8.7 percentage points.

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan said: “I am delighted to see more and more young people taking the high quality subjects that will properly prepare them for life in modern Britain.

“With record numbers taking science at GCSE and maths now the most popular subject at A-level our plan for education has finally reversed the decline in key academic subjects.”

Published: Thursday 23rd October 2014 by The News Editor

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