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GCSE Success!

Written by on 24th August 2017

Pupils receiving their GCSE and Welsh Baccalaureate results have been congratulated by Education Secretary Kirsty Williams.

This year, for the first time, pupils are receiving their results for new ‘made in Wales’ English Language, Welsh Language, English Literature, Welsh Literature, Mathematics Numeracy and Mathematics GCSEs which are unique to Wales.

This year’s results show:
  • 62.8% of all learners, including early entry candidates, achieving A*-C grades.
  • For 16 year olds only the figure rises to 66.8%.
  • Results at A* have remained stable.
  • There have been improvements in the summer results at A*-C in large entry subjects such as English Literature, History, Geography, and Welsh 2nd Language.

This year has seen a significant increase in the number of students entered before they have completed their full programme of study. A number of students who were entered early, either last summer or in November, have not returned to sit the exam again in the summer.

As a result, independent regulator Qualifications Wales have stated that “reliable conclusions cannot be drawn from direct comparisons between results in summer 2017 and summer 2016, or the comparison between summer results across the UK.”

Kirsty Williams said:

“I would like to congratulate the thousands of pupils across Wales who are receiving their results today.

“These reformed qualifications are aimed at providing pupils with the right skills for the modern world. We can be proud of the way our pupils and teachers have handled the introduction of these new qualifications that are playing a vital role in raising standards.

“I am concerned about the high number of pupils being entered early for their exams.  Many of these pupils, who are taking exams before they have completed their two years of GCSE study, have not had the opportunity to reach their full potential.  This is putting unnecessary pressure on pupils, teachers and also puts an extra strain on school budgets. I will respond to Qualifications Wales’s rapid review of this issue when I receive it in October, but the current situation is unsustainable and all options are on the table.

“Our radical overhaul of our education system is about raising standards and the aspirations of our learners. As well as reforming GCSEs, we are introducing a new curriculum and new professional teaching and leadership standards to make sure our pupils have the skills they need to succeed in life.”

GCSEs in Wales are changing; six GCSE subjects have been reformed – English Language, Welsh Language, English Literature, Welsh Literature, Mathematics Numeracy and Mathematics. The summer 2017 exams reflect these new qualifications, while other GCSEs are due to change.

Meanwhile, delighted students at Tonypandy Community College are celebrating their outstanding GCSE results today despite the challenges facing them following unprecedented changes to the qualification.

An impressive 100% of students at Tonypandy Community College achieved qualifications in 5 GSCEs or equivalent while 84% gained 5 A* – C results.

The College also received excellent results for a group of Year 10 students who achieved top grades in both Maths and English despite sitting the examinations a year in advance.

In total 60% of students achieved A* – C grades in Mathematics and 52 % achieved A* – C grades in English.

Headteacher Nathan Prygodzicz explained that although the results are incomparable with previous years due to the sweeping changes made to the examination structure, he was overjoyed at the success of the students.

“It would be unreliable and unjust to compare today’s results to previous years because of the introduction of an entirely new examination system which has been deliberately designed to be tougher.

“The changes are the biggest overhaul of the GCSE system since it was introduced to replace O-levels almost 30 years ago.

“But our students have excelled despite those odds and we have sustained our level of improvement and can now build on the success of this introductory year. Despite the changes we have achieved many excellent results today and students have done exceptionally well.

“Nothing must deter us from the fact that today we are celebrating an important milestone in student’s lives and we congratulate each and every one of them for their efforts..

“I want to take this opportunity to thank all students, staff, parents and governors for their tireless support and total commitment to making this another successful academic year in the history of Tonypandy Community College.”

Well done if you or someone you know has received the grades they wanted!

If not, Careers Wales have great advice and tips for those who don’t know what to do next.

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