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School-dinner kids see grades double

Generic picture of pupils enjoying school dinners Credit: Chris Radburn/PA Archive/PA Images

The proportion of children on free school meals in inner London who obtained five or more A*-C grades at GCSE has more than doubled over a decade.

Researchers said the dramatic improvement is due to steady improvements in the capital's schools.



  1. National

Exam boards question rise in 15-year-olds taking GCSEs

Exam boards have criticised the rise in the number of 15-year-olds taking GCSE exams, with 91,000 children sitting the tests a year early.

Why oh why do we now get a significant increase in 15-year-olds taking GCSE?

– Andrew Hall of the exam board AQA

Early entry does not benefit the students. The results are far lower for 15-year-olds - these qualifications are designed for 16-year-olds.

Students should be left to learn for those two years and that is what we would encourage.

– Mark Dawe of the exam board OCR
  1. National

'Underlying factors' behind GCSE results fall

The director of the Joint Council for Qualifications said "underlying factors" affected the dip in GCSE results but praised the "upturn" in the number studying modern languages.

There are many underlying factors affecting this year's GCSEs, including a sizeable increase in entry by 15-year-olds, new science specifications designed with greater challenge, early and multiple entry in mathematics and an increase in the number of students taking IGCSEs.

All of these have had an impact on entries and results.

This year's upturn in languages will be welcomed across the education sector and beyond. Not since 2008 have there been this many entries in languages.

However, it remains to be seen if this is the start of a trend and if more students decide to continue to study a language at A-level.

– Michael Turner, Joint Council for Qualifications director
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