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GCSE Results Day 2019 - AoC comment

22nd August 2019

In response to today's GCSE Results, David Hughes, Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges, said: “Congratulations to all the students who have been successful in their exams and a huge thank you to teachers supporting students through their English and maths resits. Nearly 36,000 16 to 18-year-old resit students have improved their GCSE English performance to grade 4 or above this year and nearly 25,000 have achieved this improvement in GCSE maths. In addition over 10,000 adults have achieved a grade 4 or above in English and 11,000 in maths. We know how much work goes into preparing students for resits and the pressure it puts on students and colleges alike. All of those successes must not hide the fact that the policy needs a major overhaul. Once again, around a third of 16 year olds have not achieved the required grade 4 in English and in maths after 5 years of secondary schooling. Many will be excited to enrol in their local college but will be dismayed and upset that they have to re-sit exams which did not go well for them. Colleges will work their socks off to help as many to achieve as they can, but thousands will fail again – that’s always going to be the case because of the way GCSEs are norm-referenced. None of us like to fail, and yet we have a re-sit policy which forces young people to do that more than once. It is unfair and unnecessary. We need a policy which supports those likely to achieve the required grade in GCSE, but which also supports other approaches to boosting the written and spoken skills and numeracy of the thousands of students who want to succeed and not feel like failures.” We are grateful to Ofqual for providing us with the 16-18 breakdown of results. They relate to England and include all providers. GCSE English 16-18 2018 2019 change Students entered 127,463 130,972 +3,509 (+2.8%) 4+ pass rate 29.7% 27.4% -2.3% Students achieving 4+ 37,857 35,886 -1,971 (-5.2%) GCSE Maths 16-18 2018 2019 change Students entered 134,050 143,159 +9,109 (+6.8%) 4+ pass rate 18.2% 17.4% -0.8% Students achieving 4+ 24,397 24,909 +512 (+2.1%)