Page last updated at 08:57 GMT, Thursday, 21 August 2008 09:57 UK

GCSE pass rate shows slight rise

Pupils at Penyrheol Comprehensive School in Swansea receive their results
Girls are still outperforming boys in GCSEs

The pass rate of GCSEs taken in Wales has risen and almost everyone who took the exams this year has been awarded a grade.

The results show an overall pass rate at grades A* to G of 98.4%, up 0.4% on last year.

Those getting A* to C grades have also gone up to 65%.

Compared to the rest of the UK, Wales has produced slightly lower A* to C grades but the overall pass rate is the same as that of UK as a whole.

The number of pupils achieving the top A* to A marks was 18.9%. But this is down on the UK figure.

The percentage of A* was 6.1% compared with 6.3% last year.

Education Minister Jane Hutt said Welsh students "have every reason to celebrate".

"They should all be very proud of their achievements as should their parents and teachers.

GCSE pass results up

"A further increase in the overall pass rate is especially pleasing and I am pleased that we continue to increase the proportion of entries resulting in a grade C or above."

But once again, girls are outperforming the boys at all grades with more girls getting grades A* - C than boys

Of the total entry in Wales for GCSE full courses (310,089) there are about 6,000 more entries made by girls.

Foreign language

There are also worries about the future of foreign language teaching which have been fuelled by the news that the numbers taking French has fallen once again. Meanwhile, media studies have increased by 14%.

Ms Hutt also highlighted that more than a thousand key stage four students (aged 14 to 16) had been awarded the full Welsh Baccalaureate Diploma at either foundation or intermediate level.

In key stage four, 77% of the intermediate level candidates achieved the core certificate and 75% achieved the full intermediate diploma. At foundation level 72% achieved the core certificate and 68% achieved the full foundation diploma.

The key stage four results are the first Welsh Baccalaureate Qualification results for students in this age group.

"This is a really significant achievement for these young people and I congratulate them all," she said.

"The results bode well for the future of this qualification, as we prepare for roll-out of the Welsh Baccalaureate Qualification at foundation level and in key stage four (age range 14 to 16)."

The official results were published at 0930 BST.



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