Numbers of students achieving GCSE benchmark set to have dropped

Photo:  David Davies/PA Wire
Photo: David Davies/PA Wire
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The proportion of teenagers gaining at least five C grades at GCSE, including English and maths, is likely to have dropped significantly this year.

This fall could mean that more secondary schools drop below the Government’s minimum performance standards, leaving them at risk of being declared failing and taken over.

Official figures due to be published next week will show the percentage of students in England scoring five A*-C grades, including English and maths, based on this summer’s GCSE results.

The national results, released in August, showed large swings in English and maths grades –both key to the Government’s five A*-C performance measure – with headteachers warning that many schools were seeing ‘’volatility’’ in grades.

Overall, there was a drop in English grades, with 61.7 per cent of entries from England, Wales and Northern Ireland scoring at least a C, down 1.9 percentage points from last summer. This is believed to be the biggest drop in the qualification’s history.

Maths saw an opposite result, with 62.4 per cent of entries gaining an A*-C grade, up a massive 4.8 percentage points on 2013.

Sir John Rowling, chair of the PiXL (Partners in Excellence) club - a group of more than 1,000 secondary schools – said he would be “staggered” if the proportion of students reaching the five A*-C measure did not drop by more than four percentage points this year.

A decline in the proportion of students getting at least five C grades, may be partly down to changes to exams and the way the benchmark measure is calculated, the TES reported.

Brian Lightman, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “We are aware of large numbers of schools that have had a drop in their results in English or maths.”