The Education Minister, Kirsty Williams, has congratulated GCSE students on their results, as overall performance across Wales has improved.

First published:
22 August 2019
Last updated:

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This summer’s results marks the end of the significant GCSE reform journey undertaken in Wales. The last seven of reformed GCSE subjects are awarded this year including History, Computer Science and Welsh Second Language.

The main figures from today’s provisional results include:

  • Overall performance has increased: 62.8% achieving A*-C overall (up 1.2% points)
  • A*- A pass rate remained stable at 18.4%
  • The percentage of pupils gaining A*-A and A*-C grades in all individual sciences (Biology, Chemistry, Physics) has risen
  • The number of pupils who sat GCSE English Literature has increased by 22.8%, with over 2,800 more achieving A*-C grades compared with 2018
  • 58.1% of students achieved grade A*-C in GCSE Mathematics – Numeracy, and 59% achieved grade A*-C for GCSE Mathematics (the outcome obtained by 16 year olds, as set out by the JCQ)

This is the first year pupils are taking the new Welsh Second Language GCSE following removal of the short course option. While more challenging, the rise in entry numbers has resulted in a 12.5% increase of learners attaining an A*-C in the full course qualification.

This year, an additional 1,500 learners sat GCSE Science exams, building on last year’s significant increase in uptake. This continuing culture change is a consequence of the move away from blanket entries into vocational science qualifications at 16.

Speaking during her visit to King Henry VIII School in Abergavenny, Kirsty Williams said:

Today we have seen an improvement in overall performance across Wales. I would like to congratulate all learners receiving their results today and to thank the teachers who have worked so hard to deliver these new qualifications.

Last year we saw a dramatic increase of 50% in entries for science GCSEs. I am pleased to see that entries and results are continuing on the upward trend, with more pupils gaining A*-C and more achieving the very top grades in Biology, Chemistry and Physics.

This increase in learners being entered means more young people are accessing qualifications that lead to greater opportunities for further science study and careers, paving the way for the future scientists of Wales.

Discussing recent changes to Welsh Second Language GCSE, the minister said:

This was the first year learners sat the new Welsh Second Language GCSE full course, following removal of the short course option last year.

As this is a more challenging qualification, it was expected that overall attainment would be effected with many more learners taking the new full course. However, the number of pupils achieving A*-C results are up by over 1,300.

There is still work to be done, but the new GCSE provides learners with a stronger focus on speaking, listening, and using the language practically in their day to day lives.