From education to employment


Students receiving their #GCSEResults2020 today (20 Aug) will be able to study new #TLevel qualifications for the first time 

 Pupils around the country have received the GCSE results that will allow them to move on to the next stages of their lives – with 76% of entries getting grades 9-4.

 Over 600,000 students will get their results today despite not having taken exams while schools and colleges were closed to stop the spread of coronavirus.

All students have been awarded the centre assessment grade submitted by their school, unless their calculated grade was higher. The centre assessment grades were devised by teachers who know their students best, and signed off by the headteacher or college principal. These grades were based on a range of evidence including mock exams and coursework as well as work in class and homework.

Students receiving their results today will for the first time have the opportunity to study the new pioneering T Levels, starting in September 2020. Alternatively, they can take up an apprenticeship, study A levels or choose from a range of vocational qualifications.

On average pupils this year have higher grades than previous years

Statistics published today show:

  • 76% of entries receive a grade 9-4, compared to 67.1% in 2019
  • 99.6% of entries receive a grade 9-1 compared to 98.3% in 2019
  • Overall GCSE entries in England rose by 1.9% (to 4.8m) and at age 16 they rose by 2.1% (to 4.3m)
  • Entries into individual EBacc subjects rose by 2.2% overall and by 2.5% at age 16
  • Entries to English language increased by 3.7% in entries overall, and 3.3% at age 16
  • Maths entries rose by 2.0%, and by 1.8% at age 16
  • Entries to history saw an increase of 4.7%
  • Combined science saw an increase in entries of 4.6% overall
  • Entries to Spanish saw an increase of 7.4%.

Sector Response

Gavin Williamson 100x100Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said:

“I want to congratulate all the young people receiving GCSE results today – this is a significant moment in their lives and they should feel proud of what they have achieved in the face of immense challenge and uncertainty.

“I know how difficult this year has been for students due to the coronavirus outbreak, having to be out of the classroom and away from their friends. Students can now look forward to exciting opportunities, this year they have a choice of studying our pioneering T levels, or they can do A levels, take up an apprenticeship, or choose from a range of other vocational qualifications. 

“I also want to pay a special tribute to teachers and school leaders this year who have shown dedication, resilience and ingenuity to support their students to get to this moment.”

“My thanks goes to all the teachers and support staff who continue to work tirelessly to support their students – helping them progress with confidence to the next stage of their education.”

Gillian Keegan100x100Apprenticeships and Skills Minister Gillian Keegan said:

“There are many exciting options for you to choose from to take your next steps.

“From September you can choose brand new T Levels, equivalent to A levels, which combine classroom study with a substantial industry placement to get a head start in your career.

“Apprenticeships are available at all levels up to degree and are an excellent way to start in a huge range of industries, from health care to engineering. We have also tripled the number of traineeships so more young people have access to valuable work experience to build their confidence.”

Education Secretary @GavinWilliamson said:


Kate Green MP, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Education, commenting ahead of students achieving their GCSE results, said: 

“Today marks the culmination of years of hard work by young people across the country. I congratulate them on everything that they have achieved, and wish them the best as they move on to the next stage of their education or training. 

“But the reality is that many of these young people will have faced huge stress in recent days, as the government’s incompetent and chaotic handling of the results fiasco left them concerned about their futures. 

“This incompetence must come to an end. The government must urgently ensure that every young person, including those studying BTECs, get the grades they deserve quickly and do not lose out on any further stage of their education because of this government’s incompetence.” 

There was further confusion earlier this week when Gavin Williamson and the Department for Education took directly contradictory positions on which grades students would receive on Thursday – their centre assessed grade or their moderated grade. 

Many BTEC students have still not received their results. 

Kirsty Williams, Welsh Education Minister, said:

“I want to send my very best wishes to everyone who receives their results today.

“Due to the many changes we’ve had to make this year in exceptional circumstances, you’ve had to make many sacrifices.

“It has been a year like no other, and today will feel a bit different.

“These results are a reflection and reward for your hard work, prior attainment in exams, and school assessment, so you should be very proud of what you have achieved.

“I hope you get the grades you’d hoped for, and you can continue with your journey in the autumn, whether this is onto college, apprenticeship or staying on at school.

“Although many of you will be pleased with your results and excited for your next step, if you didn’t get what you’d hoped, there’s plenty of options & advice on Working Wales.

“Best of luck, and best wishes for the future.”

Russell Hobby, CEO of Teach First, said:

“Congratulations to pupils receiving their GCSE results today and to the teachers and staff who have supported them through a difficult period of uncertainty. You have worked hard in the strangest of circumstances and deserve credit and pride in your achievements. 

“Whilst initial concerns over fairness of exam grades may have subsided, we must remember that there will still be widespread inequality for disadvantaged pupils in today’s results – as there is every year. Pupils from poorer backgrounds are as smart and ambitious as anyone, but they are often denied access to a fair education. That’s why we need to prioritise investment in schools in low-income areas – so every young person has a chance to unlock their potential. Only then can we build a fairer, thriving country.”

Commenting on today’s release of GCSE results, and the delay in vocational and technical qualifications

Dr Mary Bousted, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, said:  

“The National Education Union congratulates all students receiving their results today. We commend them, the education staff who have supported them and their parents and carers on their hard work this year. They have shown great patience throughout the challenges of lockdown and last week’s shambolic uncertainty. 

“Schools and colleges stepped up in challenging circumstances when exams were cancelled. They have worked tirelessly and professionally to submit grades for their students, based on all the evidence available to them, their experience and sound professional judgement. Teachers know their students better than any model or algorithm and it will be a relief to many that the grades they receive are now a fairer reflection of their achievements. 

“To add to the GCSE and A level fiasco, the decision by Pearson not to issue BTEC results at the eleventh hour compounds the upsetting and chaotic experience for students. Government must put an end to this incompetence and work quickly to ensure every young person gets the grades they deserve to move onto the next stages of their lives. 

“Serious questions remain as to what will happen next year and beyond. Government and Ofqual must learn from 2020 and start listening to the professionals, who have said very clearly that the plans for next year are not sufficient. With many months of learning lost for these students, exam content for next summer must be further reduced. Without this, the exams will become more a measure of how long individual students were in lockdown or whether they had access to learning at home as opposed to what they are capable of. 

“In any normal year, the over-reliance on exams increases student anxiety and fails to give a fair reflection of what students can achieve. Due to the fact exams are sat at a specific time and date, if a student is ill or experiences anything else which could affect their performance, this can also unfairly impact on their grade. 

“Had we already in place an assessment model for GCSEs and A-Levels which didn’t put all its eggs in the end of term exams basket, we wouldn’t have been in the mess we were this year. There are many ways to validly assess young people, yet in most subjects at GCSE we rely on these terminal exams to determine 100% of the grade. 

“The NEU is calling for Government to commission an independent review of the assessment methods used to award GCSE and A-level qualifications in England, along the lines announced by the Scottish government. All options should be considered to ensure that young people are rewarded for their achievements, supported to fulfil their potential and not held back due to their background.” 

“The NEU has written to Gavin Williamson outlining our concerns and have asked for an urgent response. An NEU petition highlighting our concerns about 2021 exams has also been launched.” 

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