Fall in GCSE grades nationally

There has been a drop in the proportion of GCSE exam entries awarded top grades, for the second year in a row.

About two-thirds of exam entries were graded between an A* and a C - a fall on last year. And the proportion getting an A* or an A fell from 22.4% to 21.3%. The overall pass rate also fell marginally, for the first time in the exam’s 25-year history.

Pupils at St Augustine's RC High School at Billington celebrate receiving their GCSE results. From left to right, Alexander Agius, Harry Ashworth, Isaac Fielding, Tim Clarkson and Martin Smith. (s)

Pupils at St Augustine's RC High School at Billington celebrate receiving their GCSE results. From left to right, Alexander Agius, Harry Ashworth, Isaac Fielding, Tim Clarkson and Martin Smith. (s)

The results have been released by the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) showing, in English, the proportion of entries awarded A*s to Cs fell by 0.5 percentage points, to 63.6%. In maths, the fall was 0.8 percentage points. There was a big fall in pupils getting top grades in all the sciences, following the introduction of new syllabuses and exams.

This year 53.1% of science entries were awarded between an A* and a C, down from 60.7% last year. That drop - of 7.6 percentage points - was the biggest fall in top results across all the subjects.

The results also show an increase in those taking foreign languages and humanities at GCSE level.