The proportion of A-levels scoring at least an A grade has fallen for the first time in more than 20 years, official figures showed today.
In total, 26.6% of the exams were given an A or A*, down from 27% in 2011 - a record drop of 0.4%.
Boys overtook girls at A* grade for the first time, with 8% of boys' entries attaining the top mark, compared to 7.9% of girls'.
But today's figures also show that the overall A* to E pass rate has risen for the 30th year in a row.
98% of exams achieved at least an E, compared to 97.8% last year.
More top news
Ryan Giggs has ended his long association with Manchester United, the Premier League club have confirmed.
Conservative leadership hopeful admits he "did everything possible" to avoid joining the race but claims he is the best person for the job.
Tiny New Zealand town with too many vacant jobs and affordable homes received 10,000 messages globally after putting out a call.