North East schools buck the trend as GCSE top grades fall dramatically

25th August 2016

- The sharp drop in GCSE grades nationally does not mirror the regional picture, with top grades in the North East seeing the smallest change.

THIS year’s GCSE grades have seen a significant fall in pupils achieving A* - A grades.

However, official GCSE results released today show that while the North East has seen a dip of 0.3 percentage points in numbers of pupils achieving the coveted top grades, it is the region with the smallest change since last year.

Other regions such as the North West and Eastern Regions have seen a 1.0% drop in A*-A since 2015, but the North East leads the way with the lowest drop, followed by London with 0.5%.

However, the region did experience a change for the worse in A*- C grades since 2015, down 2.1% from last year’s 67.2%.

The overall drop in GCSE grades is being blamed on the significant number of pupils aged 17 or over being required to resit English and maths. An extra 31,038 entries for English and 42,649 in Maths have skewed this year’s results, as candidates resitting these exams have achieved significantly lower grades than their younger counterparts taking the exam for the first time.

Mike Parker, Director of SCHOOLS NorthEast, said: “Nationally, schools were expecting mixed results and this year’s GCSEs are a reflection of the impact that ‘one-size-fits-all’ government policies can have on education.

"There are significant issues stemming from this year’s results that need addressing.  The gender gap has widened further, with far more girls achieving grade C or above than boys. The choice of subjects remains heavily divided, continuing to fuel gender stereotypes: a far greater proportion of boys chose STEM related subjects, while girls showed a heavy inclination toward humanities and social sciences.

“The Government’s emphasis on the English Baccalaureate and the new Progress 8 assessment criteria seem to be putting schools off teaching more creative and vocational subjects.

“The Government should reconsider their approach and make sure they provide all pupils with the opportunity to excel, whether it is in English and maths, or design and technology.”