Almost half (44.8 per cent) of all A-Level grades handed out today were either A or A*, a record high in A-level history.
Sixth-formers have received teacher predicted results today after exams were cancelled due to the pandemic.
Concerns have been raised around inflated grades with pupils given results given by teachers for the second year in a row.
Grades have been based on a ‘range of evidence’ from material taught in classes.
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said students ‘deserve’ the grades they get, whilst defending his decision to cancel exams earlier this year.
After receiving criticism about his choice, he wrote in the Telegraph, “Any debate about the system we’ve used this year should not undermine or question the value of the grades students will be getting.
We should congratulate them all for their resilience and determination not to allow the pandemic to be a barrier to their futures.”
He also suggested the potential of students sitting exams in autumn if they wanted the ‘opportunity.’
Labour has scrutinised the results system. Shadow education secretary Kate Green said the ‘uncertainty and chaos created is unforgivable’ and recommends there be a next step guarantee for students despite their marks.
The government say they delivered ‘absolute clarity’ on this years grades, however criticism has grown among many headteachers and education professionals who demand more clearness for this year and next.
An executive consultation in a few weeks time will discuss contingency plans for next years results which, according to Williamson, will be largely based around teacher-assessed grades despite aiming to bring back examinations.
Following last summers U-turn on results, nearly two in five UK A-level entries were awarded A or A* grades, a record high, which has caused concern this years grades will be even higher.
Record numbers of students have applied for university and expected higher grades has put pressures on places.
Williamson told Sky News the government is expecting universities and higher education institutions to move back to face-to-face teaching in autumn. He added, if universities do not deliver what students pay for then full-fees should not be paid.
Clearing hotlines for universities have been busy today, as many pupils exceed results expectations.
Vocational BTec results and Scotlands Higher National will also released today.
- The overall pass rate (grades A* to E) was 99.5 per cent. This is down very slightly from 99.7 per cent in 2020.
- Girls have extended their lead over boys in the top grades. The number of girls who got A or higher was 46.9 per cent, compared to 2.1 per cent for boys.
- Girls have also extended their lead in the highest grade. The proportion of girls who got A* was 19.7 per cent, compared to 18.4 per cent for boys.
- The most popular subject taken this year was maths with 97,690 entrants.
- Psychology remains the second most popular subject, followed by Biology.
- There were 824,718 A-levels awarded, up 5.1 per cent on last year’s total (784,959).