GCSE results day as it happened: students’ grades down from 2021 record high but above pre-pandemic levels

Students across England, Wales and Northern Ireland are finding out their GCSE results today, in the first exams since the Covid pandemic.

Nervous pupils across the country will receive their GCSE results today, which are the first exams sat since the Covid pandemic.

Follow our live blog below for all the latest news and updates from GCSE results day 2022.

GCSE results day 2022 live

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Girl power: Geri Horner and Amanda Holden celebrate daughters’ GCSE results

Geri Horner and Amanda Holden have gushed over their teenage daughters as they each shared news of their GCSE exam results.

Amanda Holden celebrated her daughter Lexi’s GCSE success on social media.

Writing on her Instagram story, the Britain’s Got Talent judge and Heart Breakfast show host said: “Me when we got Lexi’s results this morning. She smashed it. Sooooo proud of our girl.”

An image accompanying the post showed Holden, 51, from behind as she fist pumped the air in a sunny garden overlooking the sea.

Holden shares Lexi and younger daughter Hollie with her record producer husband Chris Hughes, who share married in 2008.

Spice girl Horner, 50, also shared her delight, as her daughter Bluebell’s impressive nine A grades.

Alongside a picture of her beaming daughter looking at her results, Horner wrote: “SO Proud of you Blue! All A!! 9 GCSES! You worked so hard ! You inspire me! Girl power!!!!!”

Horner shares daughter Bluebell with former partner and screenwriter Sacha Gervasi.

She has been married to former racing driver and current principal of the Red Bull Racing Formula One team Christian Horner since 2015.

In a second Instagram post, Horner shared a selfie of herself and Bluebell, with the caption: “So proud!!!! celebrate, #GCSEs.”

Granddad, 92, becomes the oldest person in Britain to ever pass a GCSE exam

A pensioner has become the oldest person in Britain to ever pass a GCSE exam - at the age of 92.

Derek Skipper, 92, took his Maths GCSE in May and has passed with flying colours, after he achieved a grade five, the highest possible on the foundation paper he took.

The granddad-of-three has said he is ‘very pleased’ about his results.

Derek Skipper needed a magnifying glass to complete the test (Photo: SWNS)

GCSE results are a ‘map of impact’ of the pandemic

This year’s GCSE results in England are a “map of the impact” of the pandemic and its disproportionate effects, the leader of a schools network has said.

Chris Zarraga, director of Schools North East, which describes itself as dedicated to improving outcomes for young people in the north-east of England, called for an urgent “recovery plan” recognising differences in different areas.

He said: “We are incredibly proud of the students and school staff in our region and all they have achieved despite unprecedented circumstances.

“However, the results are also a ‘map’ of the impact of Covid, reflecting the disproportionate affect the pandemic has had on our region and the exacerbation of serious perennial issues, especially that of long-term deprivation.

“Schools urgently need a properly thought through and resourced ‘recovery’ plan, that recognises the regional contexts schools operate in, with a long-term view of education and a curriculum that is appropriate and accessible to all students and schools.”

Big regional differences in today’s GCSE results

This year’s GCSE results have shown significant regional differences, my colleagues Isabella Boneham and Harriet Clugston have reported, with the proportion of students achieving top grades higher in the south compared with the rest of England.

In London, 32.6% were marked at grades 7 (A) or above, compared to just 22.4% in the North East and Yorkshire and the Humber - and this gap is widening compared with 2020 and 2019.

Across the north and the Midlands, the North West had the highest proportion of A+ grades at 23.1%, while 29.2% pupils in the South East were handed top marks.

Almost a third of grades awarded in London were at 7 (A) or above. Credit: NationalWorld

This is despite Boris Johnson’s ‘Levelling Up’ agenda, and Labour criticised the government for “failing” children over regional inequality.

Pupils bag apprenticeships and college places

Gulam-Mustafaa Aslam needed certain grades to secure his offer of an apprenticeship at huge West Midlands’ employer Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), so Thursday was an “anxious” day for him.

But opening his results at Birmingham’s Rockwood Academy, the news was good with Gulam keen to get home and tell his family.

He said: “I signed the contract (with JLR) and everything but needed the grades, so coming here I was very anxious.

“As soon as I opened the envelope and I saw my grades, I was ecstatic.

“I needed five fours and guaranteed maths and English; I got a six and five in English, a five in maths and I passed everything else.”

Gulam-Mustafaa Aslam receiving his GCSE results at Rockwood Academy secondary school in Alum Rock, Birmingham. Credit: PA

“I expected to just scrape fours, but when I opened the envelope and saw that, I was gassed,” added Gulam.

“I haven’t told no-one, I’m gonna go home – I’ve got two missed calls from my dad.

“It’s been really hard, and in GCSE week, it was very difficult, I had to revise and revise – but the hard bit has paid off.

Asked how he would be celebrating, he replied with a broad smile “we’ll talk about that later”, before joining his friends.

Students receiving their GCSE results at Rockwood Academy secondary school in Alum Rock, Birmingham. Credit: PA

Wondering the best message to send to someone receiving their GCSE results today?

BTec results still delayed

It said that changes this year, made in order to take into account disruption to teaching and learning during the pandemic, had “added more complexity to the process” and that without full information they are unable to award students their results.

Stephen Morgan, shadow education minister, said: “Look at the BTec results last week – there are young people that still don’t have results from Level Three. We have heard that the Level Two results won’t be out today, either.”

Grades down from 2021 record high but above pre-pandemic levels

This year’s GCSE results are down on last year, but they remain higher than pre-pandemic levels, my colleague Hiyah Zaidi reports.

Overall, figures show top grades of 7/A have fallen from 28.9% in 2021 to 26.3% this year - a drop of 2.6 percentage points.

The data was published by the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ), which covers GCSE entries from students predominantly in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

But this number remains higher than the equivalent figure for 2019 of 20.8%.

The proportion of entries receiving a 4/C – considered a pass – dropped from 77.1% in 2021 to 73.2% this year, which is a fall of 3.9 percentage points, but remains higher than the 2019 figure of 67.3%.

Girls continued their lead over boys this year, with 30.0% of entries achieving a 7/A, compared with 22.6% for males.

However, the gap has closed slightly from last year, when 33.4% of female entries were awarded 7/A or above compared with 24.4% for males, a lead of 9 percentage points.

Separate figures, published by exam regulator Ofqual, revealed that 2,193 16-year-olds in England got grade 9 in all their subjects – including 13 students who did at least 12 GCSEs.

How have GCSE grades changed?

The old lettered grade system of A to E has been scrapped in favour of a numerical one that will grade students from 9 - equivalent to more than what an A* used to be - down to 1.

Some of the new grade boundaries will align with the old ones, including:

  • the low end of grade 7 is aligned with the bottom of what used to be grade A
  • the bottom of grade 4 is equivalent to a low grade C
  • grade 1’s lowest boundary is the same as the bottom of grade G

Meanwhile, Ofqual says the 9 grade will help “to identify exceptional performance” given it sits above the old A* grade.

Students in Northern Ireland may receive numerical grades if their exams were set by an English exams board.

However, as with Wales, the country has retained lettered grades.

Where to get free food on GCSE results day

After all the hard work pupils have put in to their GCSE exams, there’s one thing they deserve - a free lunch.

These include:

Nando’s - Free ¼ chicken or starter when you spend £7 on your order, available from 11am-11pm. This offer is not available for home delivery.

Las Iguanas - Three free churros with chocolate or dulce de leche dip for students with ID and proof of their results.

Gordon Ramsay’s Street Pizza, Southwark - Free pizza, with a choice of: classic margherita, pepperoni, charred aubergine, corn and chorizo, daily special.

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