Sutton Trust response to GCSE results day

Analysis and comment from Sir Peter Lampl, the Sutton Trust and chairman of the Education Endowment Foundation

Sir Peter Lampl, the Sutton Trust and chairman of the Education Endowment Foundation said: “Pupils getting their GCSE results should feel proud of their achievements. Today’s results are a testament to the hard work of pupils and teachers in the face of continued disruption.

“We are still seeing some regional inequalities, with London and the South East continuing to get the highest levels of top grades. But it is good to see that the inequalities in today’s GCSE results are less pronounced than for the A-level results last week.

“Despite positive news, the impact of the pandemic is far from over, and the focus must be on catch-up. Schools and colleges should be well funded to enable disadvantaged youngsters through their next steps into post-16 education. We must make sure that this winter, young people’s education prospects are not negatively influenced by the cost-of-living crisis.”

Sutton Trust analysis of today’s data:

  • Grading appears more generous than A-levels last week, particularly at the higher grades. The proportion of those achieving grade 7+ was 26.3%, which is closer to last year’s 28.9%, than it is to 2019 (20.8%). This doesn’t quite match the ‘flightpath’ back to 2019 grades planned by Ofqual.
  • At grade 4 and above (the old C boundary), 73.2% of pupils achieved this, compared to 77.1% last year and 67.3% in 2019. This is closer to the midpoint between 2019 and 2021.
  • As with A-levels, the biggest drop in the top grades was at independent schools, falling 8 percentage points from 61% last year to 53% this year. In contrast, at grammar schools the number fell from 69% to 66%, and at comprehensives from 26% to 23%.
  • This means the gap between independent schools and comprehensives has reduced from 35 percentage points in 2021 to 30 percentage points this year, however, still slightly higher than the 29 percentage point gap in 2019.
  • Selective schools performed strongly this year, with the gap to comprehensives wider than 2019 and slightly up on 2021, with their results staying high in comparison to the big drop at independent schools.
  • Top grades are still highest in London, with 32.6% of pupils achieving a grade 7 or above. Compared to last year, grades at 7+ have fallen most in in the South West (3.8 percentage points) and the North West (2.8 percentage points), whilst falling the least in London (1.9 percentage points).
  • Top grades are higher than in 2019 for all regions in England. But London has seen the biggest increases since 2019 at 6.9 percentage points, along with the South East and East of England at 5.7%. However, the North East, previously the lowest scoring region, has caught up with other regions, up 6 percentage points in that time.


Read more: GCSE results day 

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