var _gaq = _gaq || []; _gaq.push(['_setAccount', 'UA-41362908-1']); _gaq.push(['_trackPageview']); (function() { var ga = document.createElement('script'); ga.type = 'text/javascript'; ga.async = true; ga.src = ('https:' == document.location.protocol ? 'https://' : 'http://') + 'stats.g.doubleclick.net/dc.js'; var s = document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(ga, s); })();
Home / Latest News / Gap widens between A-level students in Wales and England

Gap widens between A-level students in Wales and England

The attainment gap between students in Wales and England at A-level has widened, official figures showed today.

The proportion of A-level students in Wales being awarded at least an A grade has fallen for the fourth year in a row – and at a much faster rate than that recorded across the border.

In total, 22.9% of entries scored an A or A* this year, down from 23.6% in 2012 – a drop of 0.7%. It is believed to be one of the biggest year-on-year falls since devolution.

As expected, Wales’ overall A-level pass rate has stagnated at 97.6% – which remains some way below the UK average.

The overall A*-E pass rate has risen slightly by 0.1%. Some 98.1% of exams achieved at least an E, compared with 98% last year.

A breakdown by nation reveals an alarming widening of the attainment gap between Wales and England across two key indicators.

England’s overall pass rate has increased by 0.1% to 98.1%, while the percentage of pupils obtaining at least an A grade has fallen by 0.2% to 26.3% – a far slower rate than that recorded in Wales.

The Welsh Government can take solace in a narrowing of the gap in top A* grades – but only because England has fallen 0.3% to 7.7%. The proportion of pupils obtaining A*s in Wales remained at 6%.

In total, 26.3% of entries across Wales, England and Northern Ireland scored an A or A* this year, down from 26.6% in 2012 – a drop of 0.3%.

The stats: Welsh A-level results

Dashboard 3
 

Dr Philip Dixon, director of education union ATL Cymru, said he was “puzzled” by the figures that showed Wales lagging behind on top grades.

“Given the relentless emphasis over the last two years on raising standards, I’m puzzled as to why today’s results have not shown better performance at A* and A,” he said.

More than 300,000 students in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are receiving their A-level results this morning.

For many, success in the exams will mean a prized place at university, an apprenticeship or other training scheme, while those who achieved less than expected are likely to be considering their options.

In another record year for the Welsh Baccalaureate, 8,565 students were awarded A-grade equivalents – up from 6,948 in 2011.

The flagship qualification combines personal development skills with mainstream A-levels and has grown in popularity every year since its inception.


View gallery

View gallery


 

It is designed to provide learners with a broader, more balanced curriculum that produces more “rounded” students.

The take-up in other subject areas was considerably slower, with entries down across most disciplines. Interest in foreign languages dropped again, with 139 fewer French entries this year than in 2012.

But a concerted bid to raise interest in science, technology, engineering and maths (Stem) subjects appears to be working with rising numbers of Welsh teenagers taking A-levels in maths, chemistry and physics.

In one of his first major engagements as Wales’ Education Minister, Merthyr AM Huw Lewis today visited students at St David’s Catholic College in Cardiff.

He said: “Learners here at St David’s College, along with all others across Wales, deserve to celebrate their results today.

“They have worked incredibly hard and deserve credit and praise for what they have achieved. Parents and teachers should also be recognised and applauded for the support they’ve offered learners along the way.

“This is a good set of results. The A-level pass rate in Wales remains high and we are seeing steady progress in a number of different subjects, with an increasing proportion of grades awarded at grades A*-C.”

Check Also

Just why does parking make so many people so damn angry?

Between  Brexit chaos and a black hole the size of three million planet Earths you’d …