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Many young people in secure homes are innocent

Almost half of the young people in the prison system's secure children's homes have not been convicted of any crime, official figures reveal.

Instead they have been placed there by local authorities on welfare grounds or for their own protection, the Observer newspaper has established.

Of the 229 children being held in secure children's homes in the year to 31 March this year, 45% were placed by local authorities on welfare grounds, according to official figures, compared with just 28% in 2011.

Over four out of 10 of those held on welfare grounds are girls.

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Dyslexic GCSE student celebrates A* in English

A student whose dyslexia is so severe she did not learn to read or write until she was 10-years-old has achieved an A* in her English literature GCSE.

Holly Sayer also gained an A in English language in her results which totalled 10 GCSEs including two A*s, three As, two Bs and two Cs.

Holly Sayer, 16, who is dyslexic, celebrates after receiving an A* in English Literature at the ARK Charter Academy in Portsmouth, Hampshire.
Holly Sayer, 16, who is dyslexic, celebrates after receiving an A* in English Literature at the ARK Charter Academy in Portsmouth, Hampshire. Credit: PA

The 16-year-old, who studied at the Ark Charter Academy in Portsmouth, Hampshire, said: "There was a lot of stress involved and now I am really happy."

"Personally, I'm quite heavily dyslexic and yet my favourite subject is English. "The only way I could get round it was through the extra-curricular help that I was given."

She added: "I feel just a little bit chuffed, I think the hard work has most certainly paid off."

Sayer, who hopes to one day become a film director now hopes to complete her A-levels and go to Cambridge University or an Ivy League college.

More: GCSE results see increase in A*-C grades**

Schools Reform Minister: Old GCSE system 'didn't work'

Schools Reform Minister Nick Gibb said that changes to the exam system that are behind today's "variable" GCSE results are in the best interests of the pupils.

An exams system had developed that worked against the best efforts of teachers and the best interests of pupils.

These results show our plan for education is correcting that.

The number of children now taking exams at the right time, the number studying for academic GCSEs and the higher standards achieved are hugely encouraging.

– Schools Reform Minister Nick Gibb
London

GCSE results - top achievers celebrated

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Fortismere twins Agnes & Hester Girling each earned a whopping 11 A*s. Wowzers! Well done! http://t.co/RysPs1Z327

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Twins Novin and Kevin Premadeva earned 21 GCSEs between them at @stbons - well done boys! #gcseresults http://t.co/JdAiTpsc7Z

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Hampstead School twins Kenny and Taiwo celebrate with As in maths. They both want to be videogame developers. http://t.co/GmY1hkQFM8

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School exam changes behind 'variable' GCSE results

The biggest impact on this year's GCSE results have stemmed from changes that mean students did not sit exams early, compared to previous years when pupils could take GCSEs multiple times, exam chiefs suggested.

This year, only a teenager's first attempt at an exam would count in school league tables, so schools that had traditionally made use of the winter exam season, entered pupils early, or made use of resitting are likely to have seen the greatest changes.

There has been a significant amount of change to the system this year and although UK level figures are relatively stable we expect more schools and colleges to see volatility in their results. The extent of this volatility will depend on how much change from their usual practices they experienced and how they adapted.

Entry patterns are very different this year. We have seen a dramatic decline in the number of entries from 15-year-olds, which is largely due to a change in the school accountability measure, where a candidate's first entry counts in performance tables, and the move to end-of-year exams in England.

As we would expect, where the change in entry patterns is greatest, such as the sciences, English and maths, we have seen some impact on results. But despite these changes and the potential for increased centre volatility, candidates can be confident that standards have been maintained.

– Michael Turner, director general of the JCQ

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GCSEs: Gender gap widens as girls lead A-C passes

The statistics show that the gender gap has widened at grade C and above this year, with 73.1% of girls' entries scoring A*-C compared with 64.3% of boys'.
The statistics show that the gender gap has widened at grade C and above this year, with 73.1% of girls' entries scoring A*-C compared with 64.3% of boys'. Credit: PA

Today's GCSE results show that girls once again lead pass rates at grade C and above, with 73.1% of girls' entries scoring A*-C compared with 64.3% of boys'.

However, official results showed that boys are beginning to close the gap at A*, with 5.2% of entries scoring the top grade compared with 8.1% of girls'. The difference of 2.9 percentage points is down from three percentage points last summer.

GCSE results see increase in A* - C grades

The proportion of GCSE exam students awarded at least a C grade has risen for the first time in three years, official figures show.

Just over 68.8% of exam entries scored A*-C - up 0.7 percentage points on last summer, statistics published by the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) show.

The proportion of GCSE exams awarded at least a C grade has risen, official figures show.
The proportion of GCSE exams awarded at least a C grade has risen, official figures show. Credit: PA

In maths, 62.4% of students were awarded an A*-C grade - a significant 4.8 percentage points on last year's results.

Exam chiefs suggested that changes to this year's entries, including fewer lower-performing 15-year-olds taking the GCSE early, are behind the hike.

In contrast, 61.7% of English entries scored a C or higher, down 1.9 percentage points from last summer.

The drop - believed to be the biggest in the qualification's history - could be down to strong candidates taking advantage of the chance to sit the exam last winter, the JCQ suggested.

The proportion of entries awarded an A* - the highest grade - has dropped to 6.7% from 6.8% last year. It is the third year in a row that the number of students achieving the top pass rate has fallen.

Schools prepare for 'variable' GCSE results

Teenagers are today waking up to their GCSE grades amid indications that some schools are seeing major changes to results.
Teenagers are today waking up to their GCSE grades amid indications that some schools are seeing major changes to results. Credit: PA

Schools preparing to receive their GCSE results today have been told to expect "variable" grades.

There are particular concerns among some headteachers about English and maths grades, according to initial reports.

The potentially unpredictable results are said to be due to significant alterations to the qualifications this year.

Brian Lightman, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, which represents a large proportion of secondary heads, said: "We are getting some individual reports of volatility, but we don't know about overall trends yet.

"Some schools have seen surprises. Some schools have seen results which are lower than expected."

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