Letters numbers and more it is GCSE results day

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Thousands of pupils will receive their GCSE results today, but students in England only, will have grades in English and Maths that are markedly different from last years.

Today is the day that the new grading system of 9 - 1 comes into force so English pupils will receive a grade between 9 -1 in English Literature and Language, and Maths. Grade 9 being the highest you can achieve, and grade 1 being the lowest. All other grades will be A*-U.

The change, explained in depth here, is part of the Department for Education’s aim to better prepare students for work, further and or high education.
Note it is difficult to compare 2016 GCSE results with this years as they are not like for like. Only pupils in England sat the new reformed GCSEs that are graded 9-1, with all other pupils in the UK on the old grading system. Therefore the headline figure of a 69% pass rate for Maths and 62% in English is only for pupils studying the new reformed GCSEs.

So what can we actually takeaway from today’s results:

Pass rate for all pupils in Maths fell slightly from 61% to 60%


But for English pupils only undertaking the new reformed GCSEs the pass rate was much higher. Those achieving a grade 4 – in other words the closest grade to a C in the old grading system – was 69%.

Pass rates for pupils in the reformed English GCSE are high

72% and 65% of pupils who undertook the new reformed English Literature and Language GCSEs achieved grade 4 or above. Although we cannot directly compare like-for-like this is much high than all UK pupils, for whom the pass rate (a grade 4 or C) was 62%.

Uptake of Biology, Chemistry and Physics decreased amongst Girls

Pupils studying science were graded using the old system (A* to U), not 9 to 1.

Both the pass rate in Biology, Chemistry and Physics and those received an A or A* were broadly stable. However the proportion of girls studying those subjects decreased from last year.


The number of pupils studying D&T fell by almost 2,000

Again, pupils studying D&T were graded using the old system (A* to U), not 9 to 1.

Although the attainment of pupils in D&T has remained broadly stable, the numbers taking D&T fell by nearly 2,000. This is not good news for manufacturers and reflects the government failure to recognise the importance of D&T in the curriculum and the inevitable impact of STEM skills in the labour market.

What does this mean?

Whilst attainment in these subjects is important and the headline increase in the reformed Maths GCSE is good, manufacturers are increasingly looking for more than just grades. Over seven in ten look for a willingness to learn and the same number again look for candidates who can demonstrate a passion and enthusiasm for the industry that they are applying to work. In addition, competencies such as complex problem solving, good communication and teamwork are also highly desirable.

Options, options, options…

For any young person, deciding what to do after they receive their GCSEs can be daunting, especially with more options available to them than ever before.
One of those options is an Apprenticeship. Apprenticeships are a great alternative to higher education. It offers the unique opportunity to study and get hands-on experience in a workplace. Earning and learning at the same time is fantastic as there is no requirement for a student loan either! An apprenticeship will open doors to different, exciting opportunities in manufacturing and engineering.

Why not take our quiz to find out which apprenticeship vacancy you could apply to?


Week ahead 10th December

10 Dec 2018

A look at the key data releases in the week ahead.

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