Stretford , Urmston , Trafford Photographer

Girls outperform boys in GCSEs

Girls are continuing to leave boys behind at GCSE, national results have shown.

Teenagers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland have been receiving their GCSE grades and the results show that it has been another record-breaking year.

Nearly seven in 10 entries were awarded at least a C grade and almost one in four achieved an A or A*. In total, the A*-C pass rate rose for the 23rd year in a row.

The results were published by the Joint Council for Qualifications and show that girls still outperform boys, continuing the trend of the last two decades.

The gender gap has widened slightly at grade A-A*. This year, 25.5% of girls’ entries were awarded at least an A grade compared to 19.5% of boys’ entries – a gap of 6% This has been widening since 2007, when the gap was 5.2%. And in 1989, the gap was just 1.5%.

However, boys did slightly better than girls in maths exams for the second year running, with 58.6% of boys’ entries scoring at least a C compared with 58.3% of girls’.

The national results also show a huge rise in the numbers of pupils sitting English and maths GCSEs at least a year early. A total of 83,000 pupils, just over an average of one in 10, sat their maths GCSE at the age of 15 or younger, a 37% increase on 2009. And 66,900 pupils, just under one in 10, sat their English GCSE at the age of 15 or younger, a 50% rise on last year.

The trend could be explained by the fact that the last government scrapped Sats tests for 14-year-olds, allowing some schools to start GCSE studies a year earlier.

John Dunford, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders said: “The end of the Sats tests means that schools are able to be more flexible with the Key Stage 3 curriculum and the timing of GCSEs. For high-achieving students, schools are able to compress the Key Stage 3 curriculum and allow them to start some GCSEs a year early.”

Schools minister Nick Gibb said: “While celebrating individual success and welcoming the fact that there has been an enormous take-up of GCSEs in the individual sciences, we believe that more needs to be done to close the attainment gap between those from the poorest and wealthiest backgrounds. The continued success of academies in some of the most challenging areas of the country shows what can be done. We are committed to expanding the number of academies as we need to do more to raise expectations and help ensure that all children, regardless of their backgrounds, can excel.”