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Top A-level results fall a third faster in the North East than South East as Labour warns ‘Conservatives are failing our children’

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The number of teenagers receiving top A or A* grades at A-level has fallen a third quicker in the North East than the South East, Labour analysis of results data has revealed.

Across the board, the number of students receiving A or A* grades this summer has fallen by 8.4 percentage points compared to 2021, as Ministers took the decision to try and bring down the number of top results being awarded.

Yet today’s data shows that drop in grades has been sharper for students in regions including the North East, Yorkshire and Humber and the East Midlands, compared to those in London and the South East.

Labour’s analysis also reveals that the difference in the number of A/A* grades being awarded to students at private compared to state schools has widened since 2019, with the gap between the two groups of students being 13% larger than it was pre-pandemic.

This unequal results day picture follows the Conservatives’ continual refusal to put in place an ambitious recovery plan for children following the disruption of the pandemic. Research from the Sutton Trust reveals fewer than one in five students sitting exams this summer have received any support from the Conservatives’ chaotic tutoring programme despite Ministers’ promises to students and parents that support would be available.

Bridget Phillipson MP, Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary, said:

“Students receiving their results have worked incredibly hard through unprecedented circumstances, but these inequalities reveal the Conservatives’ continued failure to enable all young people to thrive post-pandemic.

“Students in the North East are no less capable but after 12 years of Conservative governments they’re seeing their results go backwards compared to their peers across the South of England.

“Labour set out an ambitious recovery plan, delivering small group tutoring, mental health support, free breakfast clubs and afterschool activities for all. Our plans would enable young people to thrive, instead the Conservatives are once again failing our children.”

  • Results in the North East have fallen almost a third faster than in the South East with a drop in top A/A* grades of 21.4% vs 16.1%.
Region2021 (%)2022 (%)% change
North East39.230.8-21.4%
Yorks and Humber41.132.4-21.2%
North West41.434.4-16.9%
East Mids41.331.4-24.0%
West Mids40.932.3-21.0%
East of England44.836.1-19.4%
South West44.736-19.5%
South East47.139.5-16.1%
  • Compared to 2019, the last year exams were held, the number of students receiving A/A* grades has risen more in the south than across the north of England
RegionPercentage point change 2022 vs 2019
North East7.8
Yorks and Humber9.2
North West10.9
East Mids10.4
West Mids10.3
East of England10.5
South West10.2
South East11.2
  • The difference in the number of students at private schools vs secondary comprehensives receiving A/A* grades is 13% larger than it was in 2019
School type20192022
Secondary comp20.530.7
  • Research from The Sutton Trust shows fewer than one in five 16 – 19 yr olds have taken part in ‘catch-up’ tutoring.

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