Skip to main content

General Certificate of Secondary Education

Volume 464: debated on Monday 15 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what proportion of GCSE students achieved (a) five GCSEs at A-C and (b) English and mathematics GCSEs at A-C since 1995-96; and if he will make a statement. (154711)

The information requested is given in the following table:

Percentage of 15-year-old pupils achieving (a) 5 or more GCSE at grades A*-C and (b) English and Mathematics GCSE at grades A*-C since 1996

Percentage of 15-year-olds1 obtaining 5 or more GCSEs at A*-C

Percentage of 15-year-olds1 obtaining an A*-C at both English and Maths GCSE

1996

45

35

1997

46

37

1998

48

38

1999

49

40

2000

50

41

2001

52

42

2002

53

43

2003

54

43

20042

54

44

2005

56

46

2006

59

47

1 Aged 15 at the beginning of the academic year, i.e. 31 August.

2 Percentages from 2004 onwards include GCSEs and equivalents.

Standards in secondary schools have risen dramatically since 1996. Record numbers of pupils are now achieving five good GCSEs.

Over 91,000 more pupils achieved five good GCSEs last year compared with 1996 and 78,000 more achieved five good GCSEs including English and maths compared with 1996.

This is as a result of a number of factors, including: challenge and support through the secondary National Strategy; swift and targeted intervention to tackle school failure; more effective use of data by schools and local authorities, helping to track and monitor the progress of pupils; and a system within which schools and local authorities are setting ambitious targets for their pupils.

The new secondary curriculum, to be introduced from 2008, will raise standards further still. Less prescription will allow for more time in the school day to concentrate on English and maths, particularly where pupils are struggling with literacy and numeracy. It will also allow schools to personalise learning in order to make teaching more engaging.