One in four GCSE entries could be awarded A grade

Nearly one in four GCSE entries could be awarded at least an A grade in what is expected to be another record year of results, it was predicted today.

Around one in 12 exams could score a coveted A*, an education expert suggested.

The predictions come just days before teenagers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland receive their GCSE results.

Last summer, the pass rate rose for the 23rd year in a row, with 69.1% of entries achieving at least a C grade.

Professor Alan Smithers, of the Centre for Education and Employment Research at Buckingham University. suggested that this could reach 70% this year.

And the proportions of exams earning top grades could rise slightly, he suggested.

"I would say, that on the pattern of previous years, we could expect approaching 8% to get an A*."

He added that the percentage achieving at least an A grade could nudge up to 23%.

In 2010, 22.6% of exams got an A or A*, while 7.5% were awarded an A*.

As pupils anticipate their results, one union leader warned that tinkering with exams and league tables is damaging for students.

Dr Mary Bousted, general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), said: "The pressure on schools and teachers of the league tables has already led to too much teaching focusing on getting pupils through exams.

"The Government's intention to devalue and limit vocational qualifications in future league tables will tie schools' hands and push many young people into qualifications that don't allow them to develop their talents and excel.

"In addition, this year the arbitrary introduction of new GCSE floor targets is pushing schools to concentrate their attention on borderline C/D pupils at the expense of other pupils.

"We need an education system fit for all, not the select few."

Under the Government's new benchmark, all secondary schools should have 35% of pupils gaining at least five C grades at GCSE, including English and maths, and ministers are aiming to raise this to 50% by 2015.

Brian Lightman, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), said he expects another good year of results, with an increase in the numbers achieving five A*-Cs including English and maths.

He said young people are facing "an enormously tough time".

"In terms of difficulties, they are facing fears about unemployment, they are aware of cuts, and changes to university arrangements. Finding a way through that to an informed decision is incredibly difficult.

"We want, and need, young people to be staying in education, I hope they are encouraged by the good results I'm sure they will get, and want to stay in education, and that we can reassure them that it's worthwhile."

Professor Smithers also suggested that this year's results could be affected by the Government's introduction of the English Baccalaureate - awarded to pupils who score C or above in English, maths, science, a foreign language and history or geography.

Students receiving their results next week will have been halfway through their two-year courses when this was brought in, he said.

"It's a case of whether any school changed what they were doing mid-stream.

"They may have been offering half courses in history or geography and said to students 'you will have to do the full course"'.


Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvSeries 5 opening episode attracts lowest ratings since drama began
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck stars as prime suspect Nick Dunne in the film adaptation of Gone Girl
filmBen Affleck and Rosamund Pike excel in David Fincher's film, says Geoffrey Macnab
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Life and Style
fashionThe supermodel on her career, motherhood and Cara Delevingne
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
Greg Dyke insists he will not resign as Football Association chairman after receiving a watch worth more than £16,000 but has called for an end to the culture of gifts being given to football officials
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
premier league
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
Arts and Entertainment
Rachel, Chandler and Ross try to get Ross's sofa up the stairs in the famous 'Pivot!' scene
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Maths Teacher

£85 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Chester: Job Opportunity for Secondary ...

Middle School supply Teachers required!

Competitive & Flexible: Randstad Education Cambridge: Randstad Education are a...

IT Network Manager - School Environment - London

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Network Manager - School Environm...

English Teacher

£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Experience...

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments