GCSE results 2021: More top grades in London than anywhere else in England

120821  a maths exam in progress (c) PA

Students achieved more top GCSE grades in London than anywhere else in England. The percentage of entries awarded the top grades of 7/A or above was 34.5%, up from 31.4% the previous year. The figure nationally for England was 28.5%, up from 25.9% the year before.

Hundreds of thousands of students are receiving their results on Thursday morning, with results determined by teachers.

The replacement system uses teachers' judgements for grading, with pupils only assessed on what they have been taught during the pandemic.

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), said: “These results show a small increase in top grades compared to last year, but a more pronounced difference in the distribution of grades compared to 2019, when public exams were last held.

“It is important to emphasise that the system of teacher assessment under which these pupils have been assessed is different from public exams and is therefore not directly comparable."

The regional breakdown of GCSE results for England is:

  • North-east England 24.5% (up from 22.0% in 2020)

  • North-west England 25.9% (23.5%)

  • Yorkshire & the Humber 24.4% (22.3%)

  • West Midlands 25.3% (23.0%)

  • East Midlands 25.1% (23.0%)

  • Eastern England 28.5% (25.9%)

  • South-west England 29.1% (26.1%)

  • South-east England 31.9% (29.0%)

  • London 34.5% (31.4%)

England 28.5% (up from 25.9%)

Students at a west London school have rubbished claims that their GCSE grades are undeserved or inflated.

Pupils at Ark Burlington Danes Academy opened their results on Thursday after the Government cancelled exams for the cohort in favour of moderated assessments set by school teachers.

Noah Jama, 16, received one Grade 9, two Grade 8s, four Grade 7s and two Grade 6s.

He hopes to study medicine – a dream he said had been boosted by seeing NHS heroes on the front line of fighting Covid-19.

When asked about grade inflation, he said: “I think we’ve worked really hard considering that we had to work through several lockdowns and especially during Year 10 when we had the big lockdown from March until September.

“I think we had a big disadvantage compared to usual. I think [our grades] are potentially more valid because we worked so hard and we sat these exams through thick and thin.”

Saiah Ali, 16, received eight Grade 9s, one Grade 8, and one Grade 6, and she said the support from teachers at the school in White City had been invaluable to her success.

“I was really lucky because the teachers were really supportive, and they didn’t give up on us,” she said.

“It was funny because towards the end I was more confident than I was at the beginning.”

Saiah said she wants to stay at the school for sixth form, and become a chemical engineer in the future.

On grade inflation, Saiah said: “I don’t feel like that’s the case for people here. It was hard to get good grades.”

The school’s principal Paul Bhatia said: “They’ve worked incredibly hard in tough circumstances and they’ve got the results they deserve.

“It’s interesting talking to the kids, you can see the delight in their faces, and the relief to have got to this stage.”

The GCSE results come two days after the school got more than half of its A-level students to top Russell Group universities.