Exam performance improving, figures show

More young people are achieving five `good' grades including English and maths

EXAM performance is improving among GCSE pupils with more young people achieving five `good' grades including English and maths.

The Department of Education has published a statistical bulletin analysing how well those in Year 12 and 14 performed.

Its bulletin includes information on examination performance by gender, sector, and free school meal entitlement.

It is widely accepted that good literacy and numeracy are key to employability and further study, and the Executive is committed to ensuring that more pupils "master the basics" by the time they leave school.

Performance data previously showed any five GCSEs at grades A*-C. The newer indicator, therefore, includes the achievement of a grade A*-C in GCSE English and maths.

In 2016/17, 70.3 per cent of Year 12s achieved this, an increase of 2.4 percentage points from 2015/16.

The pass rate dropped among children entitled to free meals - 49.5 per cent - again a small rise on the previous year.

Since 2008/09, grammar schools have outperformed non-grammar schools. In 2008/09, the proportion in grammar was 93.8 per cent. By 2016/17 it had risen to 94.1 per cent. The equivalent figures for non-grammar schools were 32.9 and 49.9 per cent respectively.

At A-level, 69 per cent of pupils achieved 3 or more at grades A*-C. This compares with 66.3 per cent in 2015/16.

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