Students at Brighton College in East Sussex, celebrate their GCSE results.

The stories behind the GCSE results

Pupils around the country received their long-awaited GCSE results today - here are some of the stories behind the results.

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Putting GCSEs to the Test

On the day that 650,000 students get their GCSE results, the Tonight programme asks whether the exams are fit for purpose.

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'Serious concerns' about GCSE funding for over-16s

The head of the headteachers' union has raised "serious concerns" about government plans to force GCSE students who achieve less than grade C in maths and English to resit.

Brian Lightman, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) said:

We have been expressing serious concerns to the Government for some time about the implementation of this very significant new policy about which there are many unanswered questions in the absence of a coherent and funded implementation plan.

At a time when post 16 funding is being significantly reduced and feedback from ASCL members continues to show very different states of readiness in different parts of the country it is difficult to see how schools, colleges, employers and local authorities will be able to provide additional classes or recruit suitably qualified teachers.

– Brian Lightman, general secretary, ascl

Gove: 'Employers demand' key GCSE grades

Teenagers without C grades or higher in English and Maths will have to study for GCSEs in the subjects, but will be allowed to take other qualifications alongside them, said the Department for Education.

The English and Maths results of 16-19-year-olds who did not gain these key GCSEs will also be reported in annual school league tables, the department said.

Education Secretary Michael Gove said it was in the older teenagers best interest to remain in education to attain C grades, even if they were old enough to legally finish school.

Good qualifications in English and maths are what employers demand before all others. They are, quite simply, the most important vocational skills a young person can have. Young people must be able to demonstrate their understanding of these subjects.

– Education Secretary Michael Gove

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285,000 failed to attain good English and maths grades

According to the Department of Education, last year in England and Wales:

  • Among 19-year-olds, 285,000 left school at age 16 without a C or higher in both English and Maths GCSE.
  • 255,000 had still not achieved their C grade in those two subjects by the time they reached 19.
  • Only one fifth of teenagers (21%) who had not reached a C grade continued to study English, while 23% continued to pursue Maths.

Low-scoring maths and English pupils to keep studying

Teenagers who fail to get at least a C grade in their English and maths GCSEs will have to continue studying these subjects past the age of 16, ministers have announced.

Students will have to keep studying English and maths GCSEs until they make the grade
Students will have to keep studying English and maths GCSEs until they make the grade Credit: Ben Birchall/PA Wire

Education Secretary Michael Gove said employers value good grades in these subjects above all others and that they are the "most important vocational skills a young person can have".

The reform will be introduced from the start of this term and comes as the education participation age is raised to 17, before being raised to 18 in 2015.

Currently only around one in five pupils who do not get A-C grades continue studying these subjects beyond the age of 16, according to the Department for Education.

Private school pupils score higher marks in GCSEs

Private school pupils score higher marks in GCSEs Credit: Chris Radburn/PA Wire

Private school pupils scored four times as many top grades in their GCSEs and IGCSEs this summer as teenagers across the country, figures show.

Almost a third (32%) of all entries from students at fee-paying schools achieved an A* grade, according to data published by the Independent Schools Council (ISC).

This has risen by one percentage point on last year.

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Your GCSE pictures

Stephanie and Martin watch as Roy phones home to reveal his GCSE grades Credit: Beauchamp College, Oadby
Betty Yang reacts to 11 A* grades Credit: Beauchamp College, Oadby
Celebrations in Derby over GCSE results Credit: Derby High School
A* student: Alice Carlin and mum Sarah open her GCSE results to find she got top marks throughout Credit: Derby High School
Class of 2013 at Loughborough Grammar School Credit: Loughborough Grammar School
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