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Overall GCSE results - Wales continues to close gap

Wales has continued to close the gap on the rest of the UK in overall GCSE results, with a higher proportion of pupils here achieving A* - C grades, and top grades.

The overall pass rate has fallen in Wales, but also across the UK, to reach the same level at 98.5 per cent.

Wales is closer - but still behind - the rest of the UK - on top GCSE grades. Credit: PA

Ofqual, the exam regulator in England, has warned that English pupils should expect 'variability' in results, due to changes to changes to the exam system - with a shift to final exams rather than modular units.

Those changes have not happened in Wales.

Overall GCSE results 2014:

  • In Wales, 19.4% received A* or A - up from 19.2% last year
  • Across UK, 21.3% received A* or A - the same as last year
  • In Wales, 66.6% received A* - C - up from 65.7% last year
  • Across UK, 68.8% received A* - C - up from 68.1% last year
  • In Wales, 98.5% received A* - E - down from 98.7% last year
  • Across UK, 98.5% received A* - E - down from 98.8% last year

GCSE English language results 'stable' with last year

Results in a new GCSE English language qualification for Welsh pupils are slightly down on grades from last year, after controversy surrounding shock low marks in January exams.

The exam board WJEC says English language results have "remained stable" between 2013 and 2014 for 16-year-olds, and attributed drops overall to lower results for pupils aged 15 and 17.

WJEC does acknowledge "some centres have experienced variability in their results" - with a number of schools seeing either significant rises - or falls - in the proportion of pupils achieving A*-C grades compared to last year.

GCSE English language results 2014:

  • A* - A: 11.6% (down from 11.9% last year)
  • A* - C: 58% (down from 59.6% last year)
  • A* - G: 98.9% (down from 99% last year)
  • 13.7% of centres saw decrease of over 10 percentage points in proportion of pupils aged 16 achieving A* - C, compared to 2013
  • 15.1% of centres saw increase of over 10 percentage points in proportion of pupils aged 16 achieving A* - C, compared to 2013

Pupils receiving their results today are the first to complete a new Wales-only GCSE in English language, introduced after a row between Welsh and UK governments over the regrading of exams in 2012 where pupils were claimed to have been unfairly disadvantaged.

More than 20,000 Welsh pupils took at least one unit of the new GCSE in January, with added emphasis on spelling, grammar and punctuation - but over 100 schools reported unexpectedly low grades.

The Welsh Government and WJEC initiated reviews which found no single factor caused the grades, and ITV News revealed 90% of pupils who sat exams in January were entered to re-sit in the summer.

The Welsh Government has continued to insist this year's pupils will not be disadvantaged compared to previous years when receiving final results.

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Welsh Govt 'expects English results similar to last year'

The Welsh Government has again stated that it expects GCSE English language results released later to be comparable with last year's results, "unless there were compelling reasons for a different outcome."

Exam board WJEC has also confirmed that a statistical approach known as 'comparable outcomes' has been used, aiming to make sure pupils are given equivalent grades from one year to the next.

We have been clear all along that, whilst there were concerns about the January unit outcomes for GCSE English Language, we would continue to apply a comparable outcomes approach and would expect the full qualification outcomes in summer 2014 to be comparable to those in 2013, unless there were compelling reasons for a different outcome.

The Minister was clear when the January unit outcomes were announced in March that it would be important to see what the full qualification outcomes brought in August. All involved in the qualifications process have acted on the recommendations of the Rapid Review of the January outcomes that the Minister ordered in March. The outcomes of those endeavours and the preceding years of work by teachers and learners will be announced on Thursday.

It is a pity that ASCL’s spokesperson is seeking to increase tensions ahead of those results and at what is already a stressful time for learners.

– Welsh Government spokesperson

We can confirm that the comparable outcomes approach has been applied and that we are confident that our marking and awarding has been in line with regulatory requirements.

– WJEC spokesperson

ASCL 'looking very closely' at today's GCSE results

Thousands of students will pick up their GCSE results later this morning, with many paying close attention to their English Language marks. It comes after 90% of students had to re-sit units from their January exams.

There are warnings that some pupils will suffer, but both the Welsh Government and exam board WJEC have pledged this year's pupils will not be disadvantaged.

Our made-in-Wales and regulated-in-Wales GCSE English Language caused over a hundred schools to complain when the first results were issued earlier this year.

We have all been promised that the problems will be sorted for the final results this summer. For the sake of our young people, we hope so. But more than just hoping for it, we'll be looking very closely at the results that are delivered.

– Robin Hughes, Association of School and College Leaders

Thousands of Welsh students to receive GCSE results

Thousands of students will receive their results later today Credit: PA

More than 30,000 students across Wales are waiting to receive their GCSE results.

For many young people the focus will be on their GCSE English language results, after thousands received shock low grades in their January exams - more than 90% who sat the units in January entered to re-sit them this summer.

An ITV News investigation also found that there were divisions between the exam regulator, the Welsh Government and the exam board WJEC when the new GCSE was accredited in 2012.

The new English language GCSE, especially for pupils in Wales, was created after papers were regraded in 2012.

But there are warnings today that some pupils will suffer after January's results.

The Welsh Government and WJEC both produced reports looking into what went wrong, with no clear answer. They have both pledged that this year's pupils will not be disadvantaged, compared to previous years.

Send us your GCSE result selfies and messages

Thousands of pupils across Wales are set to get their exam results tomorrow Credit: Ben Birchall/PA Wire

After weeks of waiting, thousands of pupils across Wales are getting their GCSE results today.

We want to hear your messages of congratulations and see your exam result selfies. Get in touch:

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Plaid Cymru concerned over cuts to apprenticeships

Plaid Cymru has expressed its dismay over cuts to the Young Recruits Programme and apprenticeships.

The party found that £7 million of in-year cuts are being made to the Welsh Government's education and skills budget, affecting the schemes.

Despite the high demand for apprenticeships, the Deputy Minister for Education and Skills has confirmed that the programme is to be changed.

We have been open about the scale of the financial challenges we face. These reductions have been made after careful consideration of all available options.

Let's be clear - we are delivering on our budget agreement. In spite of these reductions, we have been able to maintain funding for traineeships, and we are continuing to fund Apprenticeships for those aged 16-24 and Higher Level Apprenticeships.

Our Young Recruits Programme has been extremely popular and has exceeded its target. In order to continue to offer the programme, we have had to restrict eligibility for future recruitment to participants progressing into apprenticeships from Jobs Growth Wales and apprentices on an approved Shared Apprenticeship Scheme.

– Ken Skates AM, Deputy Minister for Skill and Technology

Pupils at Gower College celebrate their A-Level results

This group of girls were pleased with their results Credit: ITV News Wales

Pupils at Gower College in Swansea were celebrating their A-Level results this morning.

Principal Mark Jones said: "A fantastic set of results. We've got 98% pass rates this year, and 25% of those getting their results have got A or A* grades. Today is a day of great celebration."

It was good news for this student, who will now go to Nottingham University Credit: ITV News Wales
Celebrating their results at Gower College in Swansea Credit: ITV News Wales

Education Minister 'very pleased' with results

The Education Minister said he is 'very pleased' with today's A-level results across Wales.

This morning he visited Gower College Swansea to congratulate students receiving their A-level grades.

The A level pass rate in Wales remains high and that’s something we should all be welcoming. Once again our students have done us proud. They have worked incredibly hard with the support of their teachers and their parents. They should be commended and their achievements celebrated.

– Huw Lewis AM, Education Minister
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