North East has highest rate of improvement at GCSE

SNE Logo (under 8k)Very well done to all schools in our region and their pupils for the fantastic GCSE results achieved today. SCHOOLS NorthEast would like to congratulate everyone for their hard work and well-deserved success.

The North East achieved the highest rate of improvement at GCSE level nationally, with an impressive 1.5% increase in grade A* – C compared to 2014; almost four times as much as Yorkshire & the Humber, which had the second highest regional increase. This remarkable improvement means that North East schools achieved an average of 67.2% A* – C grades, compared to last year’s 65.7%.

Although the North East still lags behind in some respects, with the joint lowest grades at A*-A  (17.6%) alongside Yorkshire & the Humber, pupils in the North East scored more A* – A grades than last year, with the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) reporting a 0.2% change from 2014. This was the second biggest improvement nationally, bucking the trend which saw an overall decline of 0.1%.

SCHOOLS NorthEast Director of Operations & Development, Chris Zarraga, commented on today’s results, saying:

“A constantly fluctuating and ever more demanding policy context has greatly increased the pressures on our schools, school leaders and students, but once again they have risen to the challenge.”

If you would like to comment on this year’s results in our region, national trends or anything else related to the 2015 GCSEs, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Send your thoughts and opinions to

Popular subjects

According to the JCQ, pupils in the North preferred Manufacturing to Economics.  Engineering was also very popular, as well as Business & Communication systems.

National picture

English, Mathematics and Science entries and outcomes were impacted significantly by policy changes, with the number of candidates for the latter rising as much as 3.8%.  Modern languages saw significant declines across all subjects, with German down to 54,037 applicants – a staggering 9.8% drop.  However, pass rates also increased across all subjects.

The gender gap in certain subjects was stark: 90% of the entries for Health & Social Care were girls.  In contrast, boys made up around 95% of the entries in Other Technology and Construction.  A more equal representation of genders can be seen in more traditional subjects such as English, Mathematics, Science and History.

Wider Comment

Russell Hobby, NAHT General Secretary: : “we congratulate those students receiving their GCSE results today, and commend the year-round hard work of teachers and school leaders to help deliver them.

“We welcome the increase in the number of students getting A* to C grades, which is testament to the hard work of both students and teachers. However, the 18% increase in 17 year olds taking GCSEs does point to an increase in the number of students resitting exams. The government needs to make sure that school leaders are supported to address this trend, ensuring that resourcing is appropriate to offer the courses needed…” Continue reading

Michael Trobe, ASCL Deputy General Secretary: “Well done to all students who have achieved GCSE results today, and to the teachers and schools who have worked so hard to support and encourage them. We continue to see very high standards of achievement.”

However, he also said: “We have heard from a number of schools that there are some results, particularly in maths, which were unexpected, and did not reflect the school’s knowledge and assessment of those pupils. The question is why has this happened? We need to understand this and we will be looking into this issue…” Continue reading

Dr Mary Bousted, ATL General Secretary: “Firstly, let us congratulate all students and teachers on their hard work and achieving great results this year.

“Whilst applauding all those who have received the grades they hoped for, we should also consider the 37% who did not get at least a grade C in maths and the 35% who did not in English.

“We agree that all students need to be literate and numerate, however, making them re-sit their GCSEs until they get a C grade is completely demotivating. It also puts schools and colleges under huge pressure to find the extra spaces, teachers and funding to allow these students to be able to re-sit their exams…” Continue Reading

One thought on “North East has highest rate of improvement at GCSE

  1. Pingback: Striking North-South divide shown in mapped GCSE results | SCHOOLS NorthEast Blog

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