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Written Statement - November sitting of the newly revised GCSE Mathematics and GCSE Mathematics – Numeracy

Kirsty Williams, Cabinet Secretary for Education

Learners across Wales will today receive results from the first examinations in the new GCSE Mathematics and GCSE Mathematics – Numeracy; and I would like to congratulate our learners on their achievements in these new ‘made in Wales’ qualifications.

The results released today show:

GCSE Mathematics – the proportion achieving A* to C is 46.1%
GCSE Mathematics Numeracy – the proportion achieving A* to C is 46.1%

These new GCSEs are significantly different to the GCSE Mathematics qualification they replaced.  Learners who sat the exams in November 2016 started their studies in September 2015 and were assessed on the content for the full GCSEs within two months of the start of Year 11.  

Comparisons across cohorts in the early years of a new qualification should be made carefully, to avoid drawing unfair conclusions about a cohort’s performance simply because it is the first group of students to take the new qualifications.  Qualifications Wales, the independent regulator for qualifications, has closely monitored the award of these new GCSEs and is content that standards have been maintained and are robust.

These new GCSEs were introduced in response to the Review of Qualifications for 14 – 19 Year Olds in Wales.  Following extensive consultation with stakeholders the review recommended developing a new GCSE Mathematics, covering aspects of mathematical techniques and a new GCSE Mathematics – Numeracy covering the mathematical skills used in work, general study and everyday life.  

Over 2014-2016, we have funded a comprehensive programme enabling regional consortia to deliver support for teachers and learners in the introduction of these new GCSEs.  A further phase of GCSE Support Programme grant funding for 2016-17 has enabled Consortia to provide ongoing support for both new Mathematics GCSEs.
The new qualifications are part of extensive reforms to our education system to give our young people the right skills and knowledge to thrive in the modern world.  This is central to our national mission to raise standards and make sure everybody has a chance to succeed in the modern world.