1. ITV Report

GCSE pass rate improvement in North East

The grading system for GCSE results has been completely overhauled Photo: PA

The GCSE pass rate has improved significantly in the North East.

64.5% of entries in the region were at least a grade C, or a 4 under the numerical system now used for the majority of reformed exams.

That is up from 63.4% in the region last year, but remains behind the UK pass rate of 66.9%.

The proportion of entries given A/7 grades or above has also increased in the North East, to 16.7%, but remains the lowest of any part of the country.

The scale of grades now runs from 1 to 9 rather than from G to A* and while the change may seem negligible, the new system has caused some confusion.**

The two systems are strikingly similar but the obvious difference is letters have become numbers and there is a wider range of grades.

This means top performers can now receive a 9 for their hard work, which is higher than an A*, but for those less academically able the bottom grade remains the same.

Each subject will be graded against the 9 to 1 scale, though it's a slightly different mark awarded for some science options.

For most subjects, each grade will translate into one GCSE qualification but for some science students that will not be the case.