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 has a 1.97% increase in the total number of students, however this is a compulsory subject. Maths entries rose by 2.0%, and by 1.8% at age 16
  • Entries to history saw an increase of 4.7%
  • Separate GCSE Science subjects have seen a considerable decrease in overall students taking the subjects compared to last year - Physics has seen a 0.25% decrease, Biology has seen a 0.04% decrease and Chemistry a 0.27% decrease.
  • The number of students taking GCSE Science: Double Award has increased by 4.63%. In many schools, Double Science is compulsory if students do not elect to take individual science subjects. Combined science saw an increase in entries of 4.6% overall
  • Entries to Spanish saw an increase of 7.4%.
  • 2.1% decrease in the total number of students taking Computing

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.”

Kate Green MP 100x100Kate 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 May2020 100x100Kirsty 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 100x100Russell 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

mary boustedDr 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.” 

david hughes 100 x100Chief Executive of Association of Colleges, David Hughes said: 

"It has been wonderful to see hundreds of thousands of young people receiving their GCSE grades today after months of uncertainty. Most students will now be able to look forward to moving onto their next steps after days of worry, but we know there are still too many students without that certainty. We continue to work with awarding organisations and the government to ensure they get their BTEC results as soon as possible so that they too can move on.  No other year has been as turbulent as this one, and its thanks to the excellent teachers and staff in colleges and schools that students have succeeded and will able to take their next steps, whatever they choose to do. 

"Results this year look different and so course choices for many may be different too. With an increase in top grades and passes, it is likely that more students than ever will progress to Level 3 vocational courses or A Levels. At the same time there may be fewer apprenticeship opportunities for school leavers because of the pressures in the labour market.  

"Colleges are ready to meet the needs and can provide advice and support for students to make their choices. After so many months out of education some young people will be anxious about their next steps, particularly Year 11s who might not have had the same opportunities to attend physical open days. There is no need to panic for anyone unsure what to do, or for those awaiting grades. Colleges will be able to meet their needs and there will be space for everyone.

"Colleges may indeed see an increase in the number of students applying, but we are certain there is capacity in the system to get students onto the right course for them. What is needed now is concerted support from the government to ensure colleges have the confidence that they will be funded to meet the demand so that they can teach and deliver the high quality education and training for young people and adults we want to see across the country."

NUS Vice President Further Education Salsabil Elmegri said:

“Congratulations to all students receiving their GCSE results today. This year has been incredibly challenging for everyone, and we must recognise the remarkable efforts from all students to overcome all adversity. While it will be a relief to most students getting their centre assessed grades today, it is an absolute disgrace that BTEC students will still have to wait to receive the grades they deserve.

“The entire exams fiasco over the past couple of weeks has exposed the injustices baked in to our education system, to which the government has long been complicit. Years of underfunding our schools, colleges and universities has meant that education works by means of a postcode lottery. Now they must act to overhaul our current system of exams and grading, and launch a full review to design a new process that does not disadvantage any student.”

Agata Nowakowska, Area Vice President EMEA at Skillsoft:

“As if to counterbalance the fantastic news last week that the number of girls taking computing A-level this year increased by more than a fifth, the GCSE results paint a very different picture. Despite a major drive to encourage younger students to pursue STEM subjects, there is a 2.1% reduction of all students that have taken computing this year.

“There are increasing numbers of female role models who are demonstrating STEM subjects are not just for boys – from Countdown’s maths prodigy Rachel Riley, to the Oxford University vaccine team lead, Sarah Gilbert. Unfortunately, this isn’t enough; there is still far more to do in the classroom. 

“Exam season has been an emotional rollercoaster this year - one that many students will not soon forget. However, today’s figures suggest a more long-term impact on the digital education of young people. Businesses are already struggling to find enough talent to close the digital skills gap and students will soon be entering one of the most competitive job markets in recent memory. Given STEM roles are predicted to double by 2028, the UK’s economic future lies in closing this skills gap; its crucial schools are equipping pupils with the skills they will need to be successful in the modern, digital workplace.”

Isabel Hutchings, Applications Engineer at Content Guru:

“As an engineering graduate and now an applications engineer, I know how hard it can be for girls to make the decision to pursue a career in engineering beyond GCSE. Perceptions easily change at this age – the education system needs to do more to build awareness and knowledge about what engineering is like as a career. A recent report from Engineering UK found almost half of 11 to 19 year olds knew little or almost nothing about what engineers actually do. Worse still, engineering was seen as difficult, dirty, and a career better suited for men. Until we expand the perception of engineering in young people – particularly girls – the situation is unlikely to improve.”

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