Following Tuesday’s A level results, which you can explore by subject and gender here, this blog explores the initial JCQ data on the 2021 GCSE results of 16 year olds across the UK. The tool below allows you to compare GCSE grade band breakdowns between subjects and split the data out by gender. As in our A level tool, clicking ‘Go to year-on-year analysis’ lets you explore how a subject’s results in 2021 compare to 2020 results.
Across the UK, there was an increase from 2020 in the proportion of GCSEs awarded a 7 or above, while the proportion below a 7 fell. As for A levels, it is particularly striking that the proportion of GCSEs achieving top grades has increased again, following the large increase in 2020.
Explore this year’s GCSE grades with our interactive tool
A few key findings
- The was a 2.5% point increase in the proportion of GCSEs achieving at least a 7, up to 30.2%. This means that, on average, a pupil taking ten GCSEs achieved three 7s or above. Conversely, the proportion of GCSEs awarded a 4 to 6 fell by 2.3% points, meaning the overall percentage achieving a 4 or above only rose by 0.2% points
- The gap between male and female pupils widened from 2020, with 34.8% of female pupils’ GCSEs across all subjects achieving a 7 or above, compared with 25.6% for male pupils. The gender gap was particularly large for English and English literature, with around 14% points more female pupils achieving at least a 7 in each GCSE. On the other hand, the gender gap in the proportion achieving a 7 or above in maths remained small, at 1.3% points, though female pupils outperforming their male peers for the first time in recent years
- As in previous years, pupils taking GCSEs in the individual sciences far outperformed those taking the science double award. Well over half of entries in each of Biology, Chemistry and Physics were awarded a 7 or above, compared to 12.6% of science double award grades
- Of GCSEs with more than 1,000 entries, home economics, preparation for life and work and physical education saw the largest increases in the proportion achieving at least a 7
- More than three in four GCSEs in classical subjects were awarded a 7 or above, the highest proportion of all subjects. Other modern languages and additional maths had the next highest proportions achieving a 7 or above. These three subjects also had the highest rates in 2020, though all have increased this year.
Check out our 2021 A level grades interactive tool here