Education Minister Huw Lewis has congratulated students across Wales, saying today's GCSE results are 'encouraging'.
Figures show Wales is still lagging behind England and Northern Ireland - but the gulf has narrowed.
Despite rigorous tests, our students' performance in GCSEs shows that the overall pass rate remains stable at a high 98.7%, with passes at A*-C at 65.7% which is encouraging.
Our work to build on the rigour of qualifications remains a key element of our agenda to raise standards in Welsh education. Through the Review of Qualifications we've listened to employers and higher education about the skills they want learners to acquire. We have listened to their views and made a commitment to keeping and strengthening GCSEs in Wales.
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Wales has fallen silent to mark the 50th anniversary of the Aberfan disaster, which cost the lives of 116 schoolchildren.
Philip Thomas was a 10-year-old pupil at Pantglas Junior School in Aberfan when a coal tip collapsed and slid downhill.