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Thursday, 23 August, 2001, 13:04 GMT 14:04 UK
GCSE results get mixed welcome
Pupils at Fitzalan High School celebrate their results
Pupils celebrate at Fitzalan High School in Cardiff
Forty-thousand Welsh GCSE students will open up a mixed bag of results on Thursday, when this year's figures will show a combination of ups and downs.

Pass rates are slightly down, but the number of pupils getting higher grades increased slightly.

The overall pass rate at grades A* to G for exams sat via the Welsh Joint Education Committee was 98%, down just 0.1% on last year.

Welsh GCSE results
Passes A to G- 98% (-0.1%)
A* to C - 59.9% (+0.1%)
A* & A - 16.9% (+0.2%)
Swansea - 97.8% A* to G (-0.3%)
Carmarthenshire - 98.7% A* to G
Grades A* to C were achieved by 59.9% of candidates, up 0.1%, while 16.9% of pupils recorded A or A* results, a 0.2% increase.

Welsh Education Minister Jane Davidson has welcomed the results, congratulating pupils and parents.

She said she was particularly pleased that the numbers of exams say by pupils had risen by seven per cent.

"I am going ot be really interested to see how these statistics break down," said Ms Davidson.

You've finished your GCSEs, so what now? Log on to BBC Wales's Just the Job website and join in the Live Chat between 1900-2000 BST Thursday

"As with last week's A- and AS-level results, today is a time to celebrate the success of pupils in Wales.

"A 98% pass rate is very good. This year's results maintain the success of last year's and move us towards the targets we have set for the coming years."

Gender gap

Across the UK, the boys began closing the gender gap on the higher-achieving girls, cutting the the gap at grades A* to C by 0.8% to 8.9%.

Overall passes were slightly fewer than in Wales at 97.9%, while the number of A* to C passes grew more quickly, by 0.5% to 57.1%.

In Wales, most passes at A to C were recorded in chemistry, while fewest were in the science single award and English.

The marginal drop in the overall pass rate is so small that it is not being seen as a cause for concern.

Jane Davidson
Education Minister Jane Davidson welcomed the results
The General Teaching Council for Wales said the results are remarkable, given all the extra work teachers have had to cope with, following the controversial introduction of the new AS levels for sixth-formers.

In Swansea, there was a drop of 0.3% in the number of A* to G passes, while Carmarthenshire recorded 98.7% passes in that spectrum.

On the gender gap, National Union of Teachers general secretary Doug Macavoy said: "Maybe boys are doing better at combining their studies with enjoyment.

"Maybe they've learned a lesson from girls and are working out a better balance.

"The big story is the achievement of both sexes and their teachers."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Jane Davidson, Assembly Education Minister
"The really important thing is there has been a seven per cent increase in the number of exams pupils have sat"
BBC Wales's education correspondent Louise Elliott
"The gender gap between boys and girls' results in Wales is 9%"
Exam results in the UK

GCSEs/GNVQs

A/AS-levels

Success stories

Features

Row over new exams

WATCH/LISTEN

TALKING POINT
See also:

23 Aug 01 | Wales
05 Jun 01 | UK Education
01 Jul 99 | UK Education
19 Aug 99 | Wales
16 Dec 98 | UK Education
30 Dec 00 | UK Education
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