GCSE Results Day 2021 – Record Passes & Top Grades


GCSE students have received another set of record grades, in the second year of pandemic chaos disruption and cancelled exams in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The Government confirmed earlier this year that grades would be based on teachers’ assessments (TAGs), with last year’s controversial algorithm ditched.

Top grades (grade 7 and above) rose to 28.9% from 26.2% last year, while grade 7 (equivalent of a C) and above - seen as passes - rose to 77.1% up from 76.3%.

The number of GCSE pupils achieving clean sweep of top grade quadrupled and a total of 3,606 pupils in England were handed all Grade 9s, up from 837 before the pandemic in 2019.

The rise has raised questions about whether an even higher grade is now needed – a Grade 10 – to differentiate between the brightest 16-year-olds, and the Department for Education said this is “not being ruled out” and added that it is one or a number of options that is being considered.

Private schools and free schools have seen the largest absolute increases in top GCSE grades this year, Ofqual's data has revealed. At grade 7/A and above, outcomes are higher than 2020 to the greatest extent in private schools, with a 4% rise.

However, the overal increase from 2020 is not as high as many experts had feared – although key grade boundaries have risen against 2019 and 2020 data.

GCSE Results 2021 – Helpful Reads & Resources 

I didn’t get the grades I need – what do I do now?
Help & Advice from the Department for Education on next steps
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Ofqual reminds pupils they don’t need legal advice to appeal exam grades
Parents and pupils advised to shun £1,500 appeals packages 
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GCSEs 2021: Results at a glance
Subject by subject breakdown from education team at TES
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