GCSE results day 2022: nationally top grades are down on last year but remain higher than pre-pandemic levels

Hundreds of thousands of students across the country receive their GCSE results today (25 August), following the first set of summer examinations in three years.

Just over three-quarters (75.3%) of GCSE grades for 16 year olds in England are at grade 4 or above, up from 69.9% in 2019 when formal exams last took place and down from 79.1% in 2021, in line with the policy intent set out last year.

Top grades for 16 year olds in England have also increased on 2019, with 27.0% of entries achieving a grade 7 and above, up by 5.2ppt compared to 2019, and 3.0ppt lower than 2021.

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In line with the plans announced last autumn, and as part of the transition back to pre-pandemic grading levels, overall grades today are higher than in 2019 - recognising the unprecedented disruption students have faced - but lower than in 2021 when exceptional steps were taken to ensure progression.

Nationally top GCSE grades are down on last year but higher than pre-pandemic

Statistics published today also show entries at grade 4 or above for 16 year olds in England were 77.2% for GCSE English and 75.1% for GCSE Maths.

The proportion of Geography and History entries are up by 10.1% and 5.7% respectively compared to 2019, bringing entries into EBacc subjects to nearly 4 million.

The attainment gap between boys and girls also narrowed compared to 2021 at the top grades, as did the gap between independent schools in England and academies.

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Students were supported with a range of adaptations this year including advance information on the content of some exams, formula sheets and content optionality for GCSE students while some students doing vocational and technical qualifications were given longer assessment windows.

The governemnt says this is alongside continued support from their National Tutoring Programme, which has already started 2 million tutoring courses out of its planned 6 million, with the government providing £349m direct to schools next year to subsidise the cost of tutoring.

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Education Secretary James Cleverly said: “Students receiving their results today should be extremely proud, and I want to congratulate them all. The teaching profession has worked incredibly hard and these results are a testament to the resilience of both our students and staff.

“We have the most exciting range of post-16 options for students to choose from now, whether that's one of our exciting new T Levels, an apprenticeship or A levels. There is an option for everyone.

“I wish students the very best of luck, no matter what those next steps are.”

Students collecting results today will progress to one of a number of high-quality options including A levels, T Levels or an apprenticeship.

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From September there will be 16 T Levels available for young people to study, in subjects including digital, health, accounting, engineering and construction, offered at over 175 schools and colleges across England.

There are also a wide range of apprenticeship opportunities available to young people, offering them the chance to earn while they learn and gain the skills needed to secure exciting careers in anything from space engineering, teaching, cyber security, nursing, social care or film and TV.