GCSE results: Grades drop across the board as harder marking returns – with thousands expected to resit exams | The Sun

GCSE RESULTS fell across the board today as tougher marking saw grades return to 2019 levels.

Compared to last year, 200,000 fewer pupils received top marks.

Grade sevens fell from 26.3% in 2022 to 22%, while grade fours lowered from 73.2% to 68.2%.

Schools across England are braced for thousands to resit exams.

Pupils who missed out on at least a grade four in English or maths have to redo tests until they are 18 and still in full-time education. 

Compared to 2019, this year saw a 1.2% rise in grade sevens, while remaining marks moved by less than 1%.


  • 200,000 fewer pupils receive top marks compared with 2022.
  • Grade sevens drop from 26.3% in 2022 to 22%.
  • Grade fours drop from 73.2% to 68.2%
  • Grade sevens rise by 1.2% compared to 2019.
  • Grade fours and ones move by less than 1% compared to 2019.
  • Top ten subject choices unchanged, with science double award, maths and English claiming best spots.


  • Here are the highest paid jobs you can get with GCSEs and no A-Levels or degree earning up to £40,000
  • Here is what you can do if you didn't get the grades you want

Education chiefs predicted a return to pre-pandemic result levels after Covid ushered in a wave of grade inflation.

Schools minister Nick Gibb said: "We want to return to 2019 grading standards.

"We want to get back to normal so we make sure that we retain the value and credibility of GCSEs and A-levels."

"Exams are the fairest system, and it is fair to have the grading back to 2019 levels."

Mr Gibb added that he didn't expect the number of resits to vary significantly from pre-pandemic levels.

He told LBC: "This is going back to 2019. So we know roughly what proportion of young people retaking those GCSEs in 2019.

"I don't see why this year will be any different from previous years."


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The top ten subjects for pupils stayed the same, with the science double award being most popular, followed by maths, English and English literature.

Overall GCSE entries shot up by 3.4% compared to last year.

Girls outperformed boys but the gap is closing.

Pupils in London received the highest amount of top grades at 28.4%.

The areas to receive the lowest were North-east England at 17.6% and Yorkshire and the Humber at 18.2%.

The gap between independent schools and academies at grade seven narrowed from 27.5% in 2022 to 25.5% this year.

Subjects that saw the biggest increase in uptakes were business studies, Spanish and computing.

Percentage of GCSE entries awarded the top grades (7/A or above) by nation and region

– North-east England 17.6% (2022: 22.4%; 2019: 16.4%)

– North-west England 18.6% (2022: 23.1%; 2019: 18.6%)

– Yorkshire & the Humber 18.2% (2022: 22.4%; 2019: 17.8%)

– West Midlands 18.4% (2022: 22.8%; 2019: 18.1%)

– East Midlands 18.5% (2022: 22.5%; 2019: 18.3%)

– Eastern England 21.9% (2022: 26.2%; 2019: 20.5%)

– South-west England 20.8% (2022: 25.3%; 2019: 20.4%)

– South-east England 24.4% (2022: 29.2%; 2019: 23.5%)

– London 28.4% (2022: 32.6%; 2019: 25.7%)

– England 21.6% (2022: 26.0%; 2019: 20.7%)

– Wales 21.7% (2022: 25.1%; 2019: 18.4%)

– Northern Ireland 34.5% (2022: 37.0%; 2019: 30.5%)

Margaret Farragher, Chief Executive of the Joint Council for Qualifications, said: “This year’s results recognise the fantastic achievements of students across the country.

"They have worked incredibly hard throughout the pandemic period to achieve these well- earned grades.

"The 2023 results show that students are well equipped to continue their educational journey."

Ministers today raised concerns that the pandemic wrecked progress on closing the attainment gap for hard-up pupils.

Mr Gibb said: "Inevitably the performance of disadvantaged children is lower than more advantaged peers.

"And that's why from 2010 we have sought to close that attainment gap."

"We did achieve a 9% closing of that gap for secondary and we closed the gap by 13% for primary, but that has been undone by Covid, and now we need to get back to normality."

Today Education Secretary Gillian Keegan praised youngsters for their “tremendous resilience in recent years”.

She said: "Congratulations to everybody receiving GCSE results today.

"Results day is really important – it marks the next start of the next chapter of your life.

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