Hundreds of thousand of students across England, Wales and Northern Ireland have received their GCSE results today with record grades.

GCSE students receiving top grades on results day has reached a record high after exams were cancelled for the second year in a row due to Covid-19.

Overall, 28.9% of UK GCSE entries were awarded one of the top grades this year, up by 2.7 percentage points on last year when 26.2% achieved the top grades, figures for England, Wales and Northern Ireland show.

When was the grading system changed?

A numerical grading system was introduced in schools in 2014 by Michael Gove who was Education Secretary at the time.

The move was made to make GCSE’s more challenging with an emphasis on exams rather than coursework over a two-year period.

For the past two years this has not been the case due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The government announced in January that students would not take national GCSE, AS and A-Level exams this summer, due to the impact of the pandemic on young people’s education.

Full GCSE grading system explained

The numerical grading system is comparable key grades in the old way marks were calculated.

Here is what they mean:

Wiltshire Times: GCSE grading system explained. (Ofqual)GCSE grading system explained. (Ofqual)

Is grade 3 a pass?

For a ‘standard pass’, equivalent to the old C grade, students will need to achieve a 4 grade, while a 5 will constitute a ‘strong pass’.

Overall grades 4,5 and 6 will be equivalent to grades B and C in the old grading system.

What is grade 7 in GCSE?

Grades 7-9 are the equivalent of grades A and A* in the old system.