GCSEs: The provisional results

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Fewer students entered for GCSE science subjects this year. Last year, an increase in entries in physics, chemistry and biology raised hopes of an improvement in the take-up of science in the sixthform, writes Judith Judd.

Numbers entering for combined science increased. Overall, the proportion of entries awarded A*-C in science was up by 0.2 percentage points.

The figure for maths rose by 0.6 and for English decreased by 0.8.

This year's table is different from last year's because the figures, all provisional, include all GCSE subjects.

Last year, only major subjects were included in the statistics.

David Hart, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, attacked the concentration on A*-C grades on which school league tables are based.

"The fact that 73 per cent of pupils achieved grade D or better is a success story which the Government totally ignores by its insistence that GCSE league tables should emphasise those who have achieved five or more A-C grades, thus replicating the attitude of previous administrations," he said.

"This year's results demonstrate that the perpetual emphasis on A-C grades is damaging the interests of the less able."