17th August 2017

SCHOOLS NorthEast has today welcomed the news that pupils in the North East have outperformed their counterparts elsewhere in the country by achieving a higher increase in the top grades at A Level.

The North East’s A Level results for 2017 show that since 2012, the pass rate at grades A*- B increased by 3.9%, which is the highest increase in the country compared to others such as London (0.8%), and decreases in higher grades in the Eastern Regions (-0.9%) and West Midlands (-1.1%).

As well as being the fastest rising region for top grades, the North East has also moved above the East Midlands, West Midlands, and Yorkshire and Humber regions in the overall attainment of A*-B. While it still lags behind other regions in England, SCHOOLS NorthEast said the direction of travel is highly promising.

Mike Parker, director of SCHOOLS NorthEast, said: “This is a phenomenal achievement for pupils on what has been an incredible day of celebration in schools across the region. And, in addition to it being a day of individual celebration for students, the role of the region’s schools in driving such a huge change in pupil performance should also be highly praised.

“Secondary schools and pupils in the region have been under the spotlight and today’s results are the culmination of years of hard work.

“While we have a long way to go to get overall results up to and exceeding national level, we should all be proud of the work schools are putting in to meet that aspiration.”

The North East remains the region with the lowest university applications despite the improved grades pupils have achieved.

Mr Parker added: “What is a concern is that aspirations for higher education remain low. There is tremendous work ongoing to drive up the numbers applying to university, particularly from disadvantaged backgrounds, and we should see this improve over the coming years. There is also still so much more to be done to close the gap in the number of students from disadvantaged communities applying to study degrees.”

The Rise in University Placements

A total of 24.7% of 18 year olds from the North East will go to university this autumn, up nearly 0.7% on the number who had secured places on results day in 2016. However, the region still lags behind the rest of the country, with lower entry rates than any other region.

Mr Parker said: “Statistics released by UCAS this morning show a 2.3% rise over the last four years in applications that met their A-level requirements. While this is good news, it is tempered by the fact that our overall placement rate remains the lowest in the country. The Education Secretary has talked about ‘Left Behind Britain’ and the Prime Minister of the injustice of working class boys being least likely to go to university, but the Government needs to target more support in our region if it wants to make good on its social mobility agenda.

“In our view that should include abandoning plans for an ‘Area Cost Adjustment’ element in the new National Funding Formula, which would only serve to divert vital resources away from schools in less affluent areas and towards wealthier ones. We also want to see at least one of the Government’s ‘Opportunity Areas’, which provide schools with additional funding to boost social mobility, situated in the North East after we were unexpectedly passed over in the last round.”

For further information please contact SCHOOLS NorthEast on (0191) 204 8866 or out of hours on (07957) 936 021, or alternatively email