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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GCSE maths like playing a game, says A* boy, nine

Abhinav Santhiramohan, from Luton, was awarded an A* in GCSE maths
Abhinav Santhiramohan, from Luton, was awarded an A* in GCSE maths Credit: PA

A nine-year-old boy who passed his GCSE maths exam with the top grade today compared the test to a puzzle-solving computer game.

Abhinav Santhiramohan, from Luton, was awarded an A* after taking his GCSE exam seven years early. He even completed the paper with 45 minutes to spare.

Abhinav, who attends Meads Primary School in Luton, now hopes to take his A-level maths exam when he turns 11.

"I felt nervous and confident at the same time," he said. "When I found out it was an A*, it was really surprising."

Institute of Directors: 'Several factors' in GCSE drop

The head of education and skills policy at the Institute of Directors said "several factors" led to a drop in GCSE grades this year, meaning "we should look beyond simple year-on-year comparisons".

The fall in the proportion of students getting top grades at GCSE will dominate the headlines, but we need to keep focused on the bigger picture.

Students who have worked very hard but missed out on the grades they wanted will be disappointed.

But several factors, including the rise in early entry, pupils taking IGCSEs and the increased difficulty of science papers, mean that we should look beyond simple year-on-year comparisons of pass rates.

– Mike Harris, head of education and skills policy at the Institute of Directors

Read: Exam success for Sir Winston Churchill's relative

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Teachers 'proud' of students after GCSE results

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Congratulations to all my students on your GCSE maths results. I'm very proud x

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My Year 11 Tutor Group: 100% A* - C! 5 got 11A*s. Fantastic job, very proud of all of you. Good luck to you for the 6th Form wherever you go

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very pleased and proud with a fantastic set of GCSE results at EWS today #proud #teacher #exams #GCSE x

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Exam success for Churchill's relative

Isabella Soames has gained one of the best results in her school year Credit: PA Wire

The great-granddaughter of Sir Winston Churchill, from East Sussex, has received one of the best results in her school year.

Isabella Soames, who is 16-years-old, was also scouted by leading modelling agency Storm, who also work with Kate Moss and Lily Cole.

The teenager, who is the daughter of Conservative Mid Sussex MP Nicholas Soames, gained 11 A*s at independent Brighton College.

Isabella celebrating with her friends after getting great GCSE results Credit: PA Wire

The school's headteacher, Richard Cairns, said: "I think it is a proud moment for the city that a Brighton school can outperform much more selective schools in London and elsewhere in the South East."

"I really do believe that if you have a kind, considerate and supportive environment, children will achieve more than you might expect. Happy children are, by and large, successful children."

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Six sets of twins at same school notch up 43 A* grades

An impressive 43 A* and 44 A grades have been notched up by six sets of twins who attend the same school.

Minnie and Tallulah Crawley, Florence and Dorothy Hislop, George and Sam Price and Marcus and Charlotte Hook. Credit: Tim Ireland/PA Wire

The siblings are all in the same year group at St Mary Redcliffe and Temple School in Bristol, where results shot up by six per cent.

Dorothy and Florence Hislop, 16, scored 13 A*, six As and one B between them.

Two sets of twins (left to right) Minnie Crawley, Tallulah Crawley, Florence Hislop and Dorothy Hislop. Credit: Tim Ireland/PA Wire

Dorothy, who gained seven A*s, two As and one B, said: "We were so nervous, everyone kept saying the grades were slipping, so today was a surprise. I am really happy with my results."

Read: What next after your GCSE results?

Teachers union: 'Target driven culture stifling learning'

General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said the "obsessive target driven culture" in schools is "stifling learning".

The National Union of Teachers criticised the 'target driven culture' in schools. Credit: David Davies/PA Archive

Christine Blower said: "Congratulations to all pupils and teachers for the hard work they have put into passing this year’s GCSEs.

“The great results speak for themselves and have been achieved despite persistent criticism from the Education Secretary about the validity of GCSEs as a qualification, and the continual shifting of pass rate criteria.

“Schools and pupils are being put under ridiculous pressures to meet the latest demands from Ofsted and Government. As exam and test results are increasingly the only measure by which schools are judged it is no surprise some schools are entering pupils for different exams or entering them earlier.

"Everyone wants the best for pupils but the obsessive target driven culture imposed on schools is stifling learning and pupil engagement."

Read: What next after your GCSE results?

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

Read: What next after your GCSE results?

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