Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Gcse Grades Fall for the First Time; Results Leave Students Devastated and Schools Facing Closure New Targets See Dramatic Drop in Top Level Passes

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Gcse Grades Fall for the First Time; Results Leave Students Devastated and Schools Facing Closure New Targets See Dramatic Drop in Top Level Passes

Article excerpt

Byline: Anna Davis Education Correspondent

THOUSANDS of GCSE pupils were devastated today as grades fell for the first time in the 24-year history of the exam.

Hundreds of schools could now be shut or taken over after the drop pushed them below tough new government targets of 40 per cent of pupils achieving five good GCSEs including maths and English.

Figures for 658,000 GCSE pupils show the overall A starred to C pass rate at 69.4 per cent, a drop of 0.4 percentage points. There has also been a sharp fall in the number of teenagers awarded good grades in academic subjects.

The headteacher of Newman Catholic College in Brent said the school is now "in limbo" after 39 per cent of pupils reached the benchmark of five good passes. Richard Kolka said: "It would be wrong to say we are not concerned. We are not sure what will happen."

It comes after a crackdown on grade inflation and toughening of standards. Top grade A-level results also fell for the first time in two decades. Exam board results show: The number of top GCSE A starred grades awarded fell by 0.5 percentage points to 7.3 per cent.

A starred to C English grades dropped by 1.5 percentage points to 63.9 per cent.

Top grades in maths fell by 0.4 percentage points to 58.4 per cent and the proportion of students with at least a C grade in combined science fell almost two percentage points to 60.7 per cent.

But the ongoing decline in the number of students opting Continued on Page 6

Continued from Page 1 for languages has stopped, with an increase in those opting for Spanish.

History and geography entries are also up, after the introduction of the English Baccalaureate. Girls are increasing their lead on boys, with the gap between genders scoring top grades growing by 0.4 percentage points. But the most significant change was the overall drop in A starred to C results. …

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