GCSE outcomes will likely be uneven throughout the nation as a result of various affect of the pandemic, based on the headteachers union, which described the federal government’s Covid restoration programme as “lacklustre and chaotic”.

The variety of high grades at A-level fell sharply this year and an analogous decline is anticipated for GCSE grades as the federal government seeks to reverse the grade inflation brought on by teacher-assessment through the pandemic.

“The truth that grades will likely be decrease than final yr isn’t any reflection on the efficiency of pupils however the results of a call by the federal government and examination regulator Ofqual to start returning grades to the 2019 normal in two steps,” mentioned Geoff Barton, normal secretary of the Affiliation of College and School Leaders.

Due out on Thursday, GCSE marks reached an all-time excessive in 2021 as 28.9% of pupils have been awarded one of many high grades after exams have been cancelled and outcomes have been as a substitute decided by their lecturers.

This yr there may very well be 230,000 fewer high grades within the UK in contrast with 2021, however 230,000 greater than 2019, according to Alan Smithers, director of the centre for schooling and employment analysis on the College of Buckingham.

The disruption to studying skilled throughout the nation regardless of distant studying can even lead to uneven outcomes, Barton mentioned. “Faculties haven’t been helped by the federal government’s lacklustre and chaotic assist for schooling restoration.”

College students who sat GCSE exams this yr have been gripped by anxiety, panic attacks and insomnia, headteachers mentioned, including they’ve by no means seen a yr group face a lot uncertainty over grades. The present instructional panorama has seen current calls to scrap GCSEs and A-levels altogether for a system that higher prepares pupils for the office.

The awful GCSE overview comes because the variety of UK-based youngsters nonetheless trying to find larger schooling programs stays at its highest since 2013, almost every week after receiving A-level outcomes.

Greater than 43,000 18-year-olds have been marked as “free to be positioned in clearing” on the Universities and Schools Admissions Service (Ucas) web site on Tuesday, based on the PA information company.

A rising inhabitants of 18-year-olds is more likely to create “a extra aggressive setting” for college kids in years forward, Ucas chief govt Clare Marchant, beforehand mentioned.

GCSE entries to artistic arts topics and design and expertise, have additionally fallen this yr, which Barton described as “worrying” and motivated by authorities efficiency measures favouring conventional topics over others.

Going through funding pressures and rising power prices, will probably be more and more troublesome for colleges to maintain small-entry topics, added Barton, whose concern comes because the attainment hole between the extra prosperous London and south-east areas and the north-east is rising – now surpassing 8%.

“There’s a hazard that a few of these topics will largely disappear from the state schooling system and change into the protect solely of households who’re rich sufficient to afford non-public colleges and golf equipment. The federal government should make state schooling a precedence and fund it correctly,” mentioned Barton.

The Division for Training mentioned it recognised the unprecedented disruption college students confronted through the pandemic. A spokesperson mentioned college students had been given advance info of examination content material in some topics, a grading method that may “guarantee” grades surpass these of 2019, and almost £5bn invested to assist the restoration.

“College students who gather outcomes on Thursday can have the very best vary of choices obtainable to them,” the spokesperson mentioned.

“They are often reassured that no matter their most popular vacation spot, colleges, faculties and employers are conscious of the grading preparations this yr and are adapting accordingly.”

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