GCSE results day 2021: Live updates as Labour says poorer children ‘abandoned’ by government

GCSE results day 2021: Live updates as Labour says poorer children ‘abandoned’ by government

GCSE results day 2021: Live updates as Labour says poorer children ‘abandoned’ by government

Nick Gibb Defends Education Secretary As Students Collect Gcse Results M198431 (1)

GCSE results reached an all-time high after exams were cancelled for the second year in a row.

A total of 28.9 per cent of UK GCSE entries were awarded one of the top three grades – 7 or above – up 2.7 percentage points from last year’s results.

Record numbers of straight 9s were also witnessed in this year’s results. The number of 16-year-olds taking at least seven GCSEs and achieving a “clean sweep” of straight 9s – the highest possible mark – across all subjects rose by 36 per cent in a year.

Some 3,606 students across England achieved straight 9s across seven subjects this summer, compared with 2,654 in 2020.

Despite the surge in top grades, an analysis from Ofqual has shown that poorer pupils in England have fallen further behind. The exams regulator said that the gap between students who receive free school means and those who do not widened by a tenth of a grade, compared with figures from 2019, the last time exams were held.

The analysis also found that the gap between white and Gypsy and Roma pupils had widened by nearly one fifth of a grade.

Amid the widening gap, shadow education secretary Kate Green said: “Children on free school meals have been abandoned by this government and students in state schools are again being outstripped by their more advantaged private school peers.

“These widening attainment gaps are testament to the Conservatives’ failed approach to education,” she added.


Good morning and welcome to The Independent’s live coverage of GCSE results day.

Celine Wadhera12 August 2021 08:03


GCSE results expected to contain record number of top grades

Across the country, hundreds of thousands of pupils are receiving their GCSE results this morning, which will determine their ability to secure places at sixth forms.

Results, which were determined by teachers’ judgements rather than official exams, due to disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic, are widely expected to contain a record number of top results.

Ofqual has found teacher-assessed results tend to be higher than exam-assessed results, and last year’s results saw a rise in the number of students receiving top grades and C grades.

Last year, 26.2 per cent of GCSE entries received a top grade, up from 20.8 per cent in 2019, and 76.3 per cent received a grade C (4 or above) up from 67.3 per cent in 2019.

This week’s release of A-Level results also saw record numbers of top grades with 44.8 per cent of pupils receiving A* or A grades, up from 38.5 per cent last year.

Celine Wadhera12 August 2021 08:06


Labour: half a million Year 11 pupils will leave secondary school without catchup support

Labour has said that some 560,000 Year 11 pupils who are receiving their results today will leave secondary school without receiving the catch-up support they need.

The opposition party is calling on the government to do more to address lost learning during the pandemic by matching Labour’s children’s recovery plan. The proposed plan would provide a £15bn package that includes small group tutoring, breakfast clubs, mental health support, additional professional development for teachers and extra support for pupils who struggled the most with lockdown learning.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer is set to visit a school in Swindon to meet students receiving their GCSE results today.

Celine Wadhera12 August 2021 08:15


Schools minister: ‘it would not have been fair for teens to sit exams this year’

Schools minister Nick Gibb told Sky News that it would not have been fair for teens to sit exams this year, due to disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking on Sky News this morning, Mr Gibb said: “This is an exceptional year, designed to make sure that despite the pandemic, despite the fact that we had to cancel exams because it wouldn’t have been fair for children, young people, to sit exams when they’ve had such different experiences of Covid – the different levels of self-isolation and so on – so a teacher assessed system was the best alternative to make sure they can go on to the next phase of their education or careers.

He said that the government wanted students to return to sitting exams in 2022, but acknowledged that adjustments would have to be made.

“We’ve already announced the adjustments to the exams – we expect all young people to be taking exams in 2022 but we will be making adjustments to those exams to reflect the fact that this cohort will have had disruption to their education as well

He added: “And the regulator Ofqual will be saying more about the grading standard that will be used for those exams in the autumn term.”

Celine Wadhera12 August 2021 08:30


Sir Keir Starmer: young people ‘should be proud of all they’ve achieved in such exceptional circumstances’

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer tweeted this morning, wishing good luck to students who are set to receive their GCSE and BTEC results today, he added that young people should be proud of their achievements, particularly under “such exceptional circumstances”.

He said: “Good luck to students receiving their GCSE and BTEC results today.

“Young people across our country are hugely talented and should be proud of all they’ve achieved in such exceptional circumstances.

“Thank you to their teachers and support staff who have worked so hard this year.”

Celine Wadhera12 August 2021 08:45


Schools minister says education secretary should keep his job

Schools minister, Nick Gibb, has defended the education secretary, saying that Gavin Williamson should keep his job.

His statement follows Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer’s call for Mr Williamson to be sacked for failing pupils during the pandemic, and rumours that the prime minister is considering replacing Mr Williamson with equalities minister, Kemi Badenoch.

Speaking on Sky News, Mr Gibb said that Mr Williamson should keep his job “because he is a very effective education secretary”.

He added: “I’ve worked with Gavin Williamson for the last two years and he is driven to make sure that no student will suffer long-term damage to their prospects as a consequence of the pandemic.

“He is driven to continue the reform programme in our education system where we saw, up until Covid, that attainment gap close in primary school and secondary school.

“And he is driven to do more to make sure we continue to drive up standards in our education system so that background does not matter in terms of the opportunities available for young people.”

Celine Wadhera12 August 2021 09:00


Shadow schools minister: GCSE results ‘a big moment’ for pupils and their families

Peter Kyle, Labour MP for Hove and Portslade and shadow schools minister tweeted his well wishes to students receiving their GCSE results this morning.

He said: “GCSE students about to get their results. It’s a big moment for them and their families.

“Sending by best to every nervous student out there!”

He added: “A huge ‘thank you’ to ever teacher who guided students through a difficult year, and parents who had to learn to teach too!”

Celine Wadhera12 August 2021 09:13


Birmingham head of school: students have ‘really risen to the challenge’ despite difficult year

A head of school from CORE Education Trust’s City Academy has said that pupils have “really risen to the challenge” despite it being “a difficult year” for students and staff.

Rekha Shell-Macleod added that the teacher-assessed grading system was “a challenging process”.

“Our results haven’t been inflated,” she said, “they are broadly in line with what they were and have been in previous years as well, which is reassuring.”

She added: “It just goes to show that everything we have done has been completely robust and, most importantly, it’s about the students – making sure that they get the results they deserve and are able to move on to the next place in their learning.”

Celine Wadhera12 August 2021 09:20


Schools minister praises teachers amid teacher-assessed grades but says system will not be used in long term

Schools minister Nick Gibb praised teachers for their efforts in ensuring that teacher-assessed grades were used to deliver GCSE results, but said that this system will not be used in the long term.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme he said: “We should be congratulating those hundreds of thousands of young people getting their GCSE and other grades today, enabling them to go on to T-levels or A-levels or an apprenticeship.

“They have worked hard in very challenging circumstances over the last 18 months.

“Thank you to the teachers who have administered the teacher-assessed grades system, with all the guidance they have received and the evidence they have needed to compile and send into the exam board, so than you to those teachers for administering that difficult and challenging system this year.”

When asked whether the government would rule out teacher assessments for GCSEs in the long term, Mr Gibb said: “Yes. We did have controlled assessment, teacher assessment in GCSEs prior to 2010 and they took up a vast amount of teaching time that should be better spent on teaching young people.

“And, also, the regulator did not feel that they were a fair way of assessing young people’s achievements.”

Celine Wadhera12 August 2021 09:25


GCSE top grades reach record highs

The proportion of GCSE entries receiving top grades is the highest on record. A total of 28.9 per cent of entries were awarded 7/A grades or above, up from 26.2 per cent in 2020.

In 2019, only a fifth (20.8 per cent) of GCSE entries received at least a 7.

This year’s GCSE results also witnessed another record high, with some 77.1 per cent of entries receiving a 4/C grade or higher. This is an increase above last year’s 76.3 per cent.

These record grades come as exams were cancelled for the second year in a row due to learning disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Celine Wadhera12 August 2021 09:30

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