GCSE learners in Wales receive their grades following a difficult year

Thursday 12 Aug 2021

GCSE learners in Wales have received their grades today following a difficult year for everyone in education.

As with A and AS levels, the priority was to find the fairest way in exceptional circumstances to assess GCSE learners, enabling them to take their next steps into further education, employment or apprenticeships.

“The grades GCSE learners are receiving today have relied on the professional judgement of teachers and lecturers. Schools and colleges have been at the heart of the approach,” said Qualifications Wales Chief Executive Philip Blaker.

“We would like to thank them for their dedication and hard work in adapting swiftly to the flexible arrangements put in place so that grades are awarded.

“Exams were cancelled due to the pandemic and schools and colleges have been in the best position to make the right decisions for their learners as they understand the local challenges faced.

“Learners can be confident that the qualifications awarded in Wales this year carry the same value as qualifications awarded in any other year.”

The results in Wales for GCSEs show that 28.7% achieved at least A/7 (compared with 25.5% in 2020 and 18.4% in 2019), 73.6% achieved at least C/4 (compared with 73.8% in 2020 and 62.8% in 2019) and 98.5% achieved at least G/1 (compared with 99.6% in 2020 and 97.2% in 2019)

Broadly similar patterns in results are seen in England* and Northern Ireland: in England at grade A/7and above (28.5% in 2021 compared with 25.9% in 2020, and 20.7% in 2019) and at grade 4/C and above (76.9% in 2021 compared with 75.9% in 2020, and 67.1% in 2019); and in Northern Ireland at grade A/7 and above (39.9% in 2021 compared with 36.3% in 2020, and 30.5% in 2019) and at grade C/4 and above (89.6% in 2021 compared with 89.8% in 2020, and 82.2% in 2019).

Of the learners who sat the National/Foundation Skills Challenge Certificate, 19.0% achieved A* or A.

Many learners of vocational qualifications will also be receiving their Level 1 and 2 results today and some will have been determined in a similar way to GCSEs.

The full overview of revised results for A level, AS, GCSE and the Skills Challenge Certificate in Wales is available on the Qualifications Wales website.

*England has a different grading system, running from 9-1, with 9-7 equivalent to A*-A, 9-4 equivalent to A*-C and 9-1 equivalent to A*-G.