Press release

Academies see double the increase of other maintained schools at GCSE

Information on academies’ GCSE results, which have improved by more than twice the level of other maintained schools.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Only a fifth of pupils took the core academic GCSEs this year.

Figures out today reveal that academies’ GCSE results have improved by more than twice the level of other maintained schools.

The provisional GCSE results for 2011 show that:

  • in academies the percentage of pupils achieving 5 or more GCSEs including English and maths rose from 40.6% to 45.9%, an increase of 5.3 percentage points
  • in all maintained schools the percentage of pupils achieving 5 or more GCSEs including English and maths rose from 55.2% to 57.8%, an increase of 2.6 percentage points.

The statistic for academies is based on the 166 sponsored academies with results in both 2010 and 2011. Their performance is particularly impressive as these academies replaced historically underperforming schools in deprived areas.

Schools Minister Nick Gibb said:

The government believes that teachers and head teachers know best how to run schools. Academy status gives professionals the freedom they need to do their job and today’s figures show that that autonomy works. Academies continue to outperform the national average, completely transforming previously underperforming schools serving some of the most deprived communities.

The government is turning around more underperforming schools than ever before. In May 2010 there were a total of 203 sponsored academies. Since then the coalition has opened 116 more sponsored academies. More sponsored academies will open this academic year than in the history of the academies programme. The government has also allowed good schools to take on academy freedoms. 1,031 schools have chosen to do so.

The results also show that just a fifth of pupils studied the core academic subjects that make up the English Baccalaureate (EBacc). Only one in six pupils managed to secure good grades in a combination of English, maths, a language, history or geography, and two sciences.

The provisional GCSE results for 2011 show that:

  • only 22.7% of all pupils were entered for a combination of subjects that could lead to the EBacc - last year it was 22.0% just 16.5% of all pupils achieved the EBacc - last year it was 15.6%

Ministers have been clear that all pupils, regardless of their background, should be given the opportunity to study the core academic subjects.

Research recently published by the Department for Education showed the huge positive impact the EBacc is having on future GCSE choices. Since its introduction, 47 per cent of pupils taking GCSEs in 2013 are now studying a combination of EBacc subjects.

The researched showed that, compared to entries in 2010, there is an increase in the percentage of pupils taking GCSEs in the EBacc subjects in 2013 by:

  • 26% in history
  • 28% in geography
  • 22% in languages
  • 82% in triple science.

Schools Minister Nick Gibb said:

It is a scandal that four-fifths of our 16-year-olds did not take the core academic GCSEs that universities and employers demand - when far more are capable of doing so.

Parents across the country rightly expect that their child will receive a broad and balanced education that includes English, maths, science, a language and history or geography. Sadly, all too often it is the pupils from the poorest backgrounds who are denied this opportunity. Last year, only 4% of children from poorer backgrounds achieved the English Baccalaureate GCSEs, compared to 17% of their peers.

The coalition government is reversing this shameful decline. Since the introduction of the EBacc, more young people are choosing to study the academic subjects which give them the knowledge and skills they need to progress to further study or to rewarding employment.

The EBacc is not compulsory but it is about closing the attainment gap between rich and poor and about increasing opportunity.

The provisional GCSE and A level results for 2011 also show that:

  • the overall number of five GCSE (or iGCSE or equivalent) passes at A* to C including English and mathematics for all pupils has increased this year by 4.8 percentage points to 58.3% - in state-funded schools there was a 2.6 percentage point rise to 57.8%
  • 71.0% of pupils made the expected level of progress in English between key stage 2 and key stage 4, with 64.2% of pupils doing so in maths
  • 92.7% of pupils achieved passes equivalent to at least two A Levels, down from 94.8% the previous year.

On A levels, Nick Gibb added:

A Levels are a key stepping stone towards higher education and future careers. It’s only right that we make sure our qualifications match the best in the world and keep pace with the demands of employers and universities.

It is astonishing that three times as many private school pupils are achieving three A grades or higher at A level compared to pupils from state schools. We must close this gap - which is why we are driving up teaching standards across the profession and developing a world-class curriculum for all.

Notes to editors:

  • The provisional GCSE and A level results for 2011 are available from the publications section.

Proportion of pupils who took GCSEs in summer 2011

Proportion of pupils who took GCSEs in summer 2010

Proportion of pupils taking GCSEs in summer 2013

2010-2013 change

Percentage increase in numbers of pupils studying the subject 2010-2013

  (subject entries) (subject entries) (subject choices)    

Ebacc Combination

23% 22% 47% + 25% pts 115%
History 30% 31% 39% + 8% pts 26%
Geography 25% 26% 33% + 7% pts 28%
Language 41% 43% 52% + 9% pts 22%
Triple Science* 21% 16% 29% + 13% pts 82%
  • The NatCen survey was published in August 2011 and it showed that:

  • Since last year a large number of iGCSEs, many of them with significant numbers of entries, have been accredited and have therefore now been included in these statistics. These have had a significant effect on the statistics published in this SFR, most notably for those covering the independent schools. This is reflected in the overall number of pupils achieving 5 A*-C grades including English and maths.

  • The English Baccalaureate was introduced by the Department for Education as an additional measure in the performance tables published in January 2011.

  • In 2010, 22% of pupils were entered for the EBacc, with 15.6% achieving the award.

  • For these statistics, the date of 12 September 2010 has been used to determine the status of a school. Any schools which converted to an academy on or before this date have been published as an academy and those that have converted after this date have been treated as their predecessor school type.

  • The statistic for academies is based on the 166 sponsored academies that had results in both 2010 and 2011. This group of academies is used so that the year-on-year comparison is made across a consistent group of schools.

DfE enquiries

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Published 20 October 2011