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21/08/2003

Slight dip in overall GCSE pass rates

The overall success rates in this year's GCSEs has shown a slight decrease with 97.6% of pupils gaining pass grades - down 0.3% on last year.

The results show that passes at A*- C had increased by 0.2% to 58.1%, despite the small aberration in this year's results.

In Mathematics there has been a fall this year of 1.1% in the numbers gaining Grade C or above, taking the award to 50.2%. However, English saw an increase pass rate of 0.2% at Grade C and above – rising from 59.5 to 59.7%.

Overall, the girls have performed at Grade C and above identically with their performance in 2002 - 62.4%. The boys are still behind but have narrowed the gap, improving their overall performance at Grade C and above by 0.2% from 53.4% to 53.6%. In the GCSE Short Course, girls continue to outperform boys, although the outcomes for both have declined with a sharper fall in that of the girls.

Education and Skills Secretary Charles Clarke praised the hard work of pupils and teachers.

Mr Clarke said: "GCSEs provide a valuable record of young people's progress and that is why we have set a tough challenge for increasing the number of young people achieving five or more top grade GCSEs.

He also said the government has a clear route to tackling the gap in achievement between boys and girls.

"We know that boys don't work well if left alone but do respond well to strong discipline, individual attention, clear goals and high expectations."

John Milner, Convenor of the Joint Council General Qualifications, said: “Students and their teachers have demonstrated how hard they have worked in achieving these excellent results.

“The growth in entry and sound performance indicates that GCSEs are firmly established, and greatly valued, by students and teachers. The outcomes are excellent and the JCGQ congratulates all involved.”

Eamonn O’Kane, General Secretary of NASUWT, said: “The GCSE results yet again reflect the hard work of teachers and pupils. They are particularly gratifying in the light of the new specifications for all subjects with the exceptions of English and Welsh.

“The proportion of students gaining grade C and above has increased and, whilst critics may want to seize upon the fact that there has been an overall drop in passes in grade G and above, the decrease is so minimal that such nitpicking seems churlish.”

Students wanting free, impartial and confidential advice following their results can ring the One Life results helpline on 0808 100 8000 where they will be able to talk to a Connexions personal adviser or careers officer.

(gmcg)

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