GCSE results: Record high grades for pupils across the South East

Video report by ITV News Meridian's Social Affairs Correspondent Christine Alsford

Pupils across the South East have been receiving their final GCSE grades after what has been a rollercoaster of learning during the pandemic.

The number of entries awarded top grades has surged to an all-time high, after exams were cancelled for the second year in a row due to Covid-19.

This year the results have been determined by the teachers backed up with evidence from topic tests, essays, assessments and mini exams.

Pupils are only assessed on what they have been taught during the pandemic.

Thames Valley

Students at Oxford Spires Academy in Oxford went in to get their results just after 9am.

Many said they were pleased with their grades and that 'all the hard work had paid off'.

One pupil said: "Some people say that they hyper-inflated our grades and made them higher than they should actually be. But I feel like I worked really hard for my grades and I got them, so I'm really really happy."


At Park Community School in Havant pupils were relieved to gain passes that mean they can get into college and onto the courses they want to study.

On the Isle of Wight, Joy Ballard, the headteacher of Ryde Academy, said the processes to work out and verify grades was much more robust than when teacher grades were awarded in 2020.

At Sherfield School in Hampshire, a private school, pupils said although it had been a difficult year with online learning, the teachers had been supportive.

One pupil said: "It's been a weight off my shoulders. For the past few months it's been holding me down and making me a bit nervous. But now I'm really pleased with what I've got."

Another said: "My results matched up with exactly what I was predicted to get. So it was nice t have that reflected in my final grade."


Pupils at Folkestone Academy were equally delighted with their grades.

What does the data show?

Overall, 28.9% of UK GCSE entries were awarded one of the three top grades this year, up by 2.7 percentage points on 2020 when 26.2% achieved the top grades, figures for England, Wales and Northern Ireland show.

By contrast, in 2019, when exams were last sat, only a fifth of entries scored at least a 7 – the equivalent of an A grade.

Credit: ITV News Meridian

The attainment difference between girls and boys has widened, with the gap between boys and girls achieving one of the top three grades rising from eight percentage points in 2020 to nine percentage points this year.

According to the exam regulator Ofqual, the number of 16-year-old students in England who entered seven or more GCSEs and received a 9 – the highest grade under the numerical grading system – in all subjects has risen.