Academic year 2022/23

Key stage 4 performance

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  1. This release has been updated with revised data. This means the data now includes late results and reviews of marking, as well as any accepted amendments schools have requested in the autumn checking exercise. Additional section on "Attainment in Multi-academy trusts".

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Introduction

This statistical release focuses on the GCSE results of pupils at the end of Key stage 4 (KS4) attending state-funded schools in England. This revised release includes pupil characteristic breakdowns such as disadvantage status, Free School Meal status, Special Educational Needs status and ethnicity.

In 2022/23 there was a return to pre-pandemic standards for GCSEs, AS and A levels, with protection built into the grading process to recognise the disruption that students have faced. For VTQs that are taken alongside, or instead, of GCSEs and A levels, there was also a return to pre-pandemic standards in 2022/23. More information on qualification grading approaches in 2023 and in 2022 can be found at Exam results 2023: 10 things to know about GCSE, AS and A level grades - The Ofqual blog and Vocational and technical qualifications grading in 2023   - The Ofqual blog and Ofqual’s announced approach to grading assessments in summer 2022.

The KS4 performance measures reported in this release, and on the performance tables website, for the 2022/23 academic year have been affected by the following factors:  

  • The return to pre-pandemic grading in 2022/23, with some protections. 
  • 2022/23 performance measures may include some qualification grades that were awarded in 2021/22 using a different grading approach.
  • Results achieved between January 2020 and August 2021, by pupils included in 2022/23 measures, are not included in the calculations.
  • The ongoing uneven impacts of the pandemic on different schools/colleges and pupils.

For more information on how we calculate performance measures, and the factors affecting measures for 2022/23, please see the KS4 technical guide.

Throughout this release, comparisons are made with 2022 and with 2019. The more meaningful comparison is with 2019, the last year that summer exams were taken before the pandemic, as 2023 saw a return to pre-pandemic grading, with some protections. In 2022 outcomes broadly reflected a mid-point between 2019 and 2021, to take account of the impact of the pandemic and in line with Ofqual’s approach to grading in 2022. It is expected that performance in 2023 will generally be lower than in 2022. Users need to exercise extreme caution when considering comparisons over time, as they may not reflect changes in pupil performance alone.

To find out more about this, please visit our secondary accountability measures guide.

 


Headline facts and figures - 2022/23

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About this release

GCSE grades awarded in summer 2023 and published in August

GCSE exams in England largely returned to pre-pandemic arrangements in summer 2023, but with protection built in to recognise the disruption that students have faced. The statistics in this release are based on the grades received by pupils as announced on 24 August 2023. The exam grades have been matched to pupils to enable pupil level analyses. 

Breakdowns of the grades achieved in summer 2023 were also published on results day by the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) and Ofqual. These statistics were at exam entry level for those age 16, whereas the statistics in this release are at pupil level for those at the end of Key stage 4.

About this statistical release

This release summarises GCSE entries and grades awarded to pupils at the end of KS4 in summer 2023. Figures are published at national, regional and local authority level with some lower-level breakdowns such as local authority district and parliamentary constituency. Information relating to school-level data, covering a similar summary of attainment measures and pupil breakdowns, can be found on the performance tables website.

As previously mentioned, the KS4 statistics reported in this release have been affected by the following factors: 

  • The return to pre-pandemic grading in 2022/23, with some protections. 
  • 2022/23 measures may include some qualification grades that were awarded in 2021/22 using a different grading approach.
  • Results achieved between January 2020 and August 2021, by pupils included in 2022/23 measures, are not included in the calculations.
  • The ongoing uneven impacts of the pandemic on different schools/colleges and pupils.

The return to pre-pandemic grading means performance in 2023 is expected to be lower than in 2022. National statistics based on results from 2023 can be most meaningfully compared to 2019, the last year that summer exams were taken before the pandemic. 

As a result users need to exercise extreme caution when considering comparisons over time, as they may not reflect changes in pupil performance alone and likely reflect the changes to the grading approach and to the methodology for calculating the measures, rather than demonstrating a difference in standards.

The 2022/23 KS4 school and college checking exercises ran in June 2023 and autumn 2023. This release is based on revised data, meaning that any approved result amendments that schools may have requested have been applied when aggregations have been calculated.

Where time series data is presented it uses revised 2022/23 data, final 2021/22 results, the published results from 2020/21 and 2019/20, and the final data for 2018/19 and earlier years (final data includes small amounts of pupils' exam results from the winter series of exams as well as any late changes from schools).

The changes seen in the headline attainment statistics likely reflect the changes in approach to grading in different years and resulting methodology changes for calculating the measures rather than demonstrating changes in standards.

Feedback
We welcome feedback on any aspect of this document at Attainment.STATISTICS@education.gov.uk. We are particularly interested in user views on the data tables that accompany this release.

Which KS4 headline measures are being reported on?

Description of the Key stage 4 headline measures

This release provides additional context to the school level data published on the performance tables website by reporting on the following Key stage 4 headline measures at a national and regional level:
• Progress 8
• percentage of pupils entering the full EBacc combination of qualifications.
• the percentage of pupils attaining grades 5 or above in both English and maths.
• the average Attainment 8 score per pupil.
• the EBacc Average Point Score (APS) per pupil.

The KS4 measures are designed by the Department to encourage schools to offer a broad and balanced curriculum with a focus on an academic core.

Progress 8 
Progress 8 aims to capture the progress a pupil makes from the end of Key stage 2 (KS2) to the end of KS4. It compares pupils’ achievement – their Attainment 8 score (see below) – with the national average Attainment 8 score of all pupils who had a similar starting point (or ‘prior attainment’), calculated using assessment results from the end of primary school. Progress 8 is a relative measure, therefore the national average Progress 8 score for mainstream schools is very close to zero. It can be used to compare the progress of different pupil characteristics and geography breakdowns.

English Baccalaureate (EBacc) entry
The EBacc shows how many pupils are entering GCSEs (or AS level qualifications) in core academic subjects at KS4. The EBacc consists of English, maths, science, a language, and history or geography. To count in the EBacc, qualifications must be on the English Baccalaureate list of qualifications.

Attainment in English and maths at grade 5 or above
This measure looks at the percentage of pupils achieving grade 5 or above in both English and maths GCSEs. To count for this measure a pupil would have to achieve a grade 5 or above in either English literature or English language. There is no requirement to sit both.

Attainment 8 
Attainment 8 measures the average achievement of pupils in up to 8 qualifications. This includes: English language; English literature (double weighted providing both English language and English literature are taken); maths (double weighted); three further qualifications that count in the English Baccalaureate (EBacc); and three further qualifications that can be GCSE qualifications (including EBacc subjects) or any other non-GCSE qualifications on the DfE approved list.

From 2018, Attainment 8 has had a maximum point score of 90, compared to a maximum of 87 in 2017 and 80 in 2016. This is a consequence of the phased introduction of reformed GCSEs graded on the 9-1 scale. These differences should be considered when comparing Attainment 8 scores between 2016-2019.

EBacc Average Point Score (EBacc APS)
The EBacc APS measures pupils’ point scores across the five pillars of the EBacc - English, maths, science, a language, and history or geography – with a zero for any missing pillars. The Average Point Score takes into account the attainment of all pupils, not just those at particular grade boundaries, which is why it is are used to encourage schools to enter pupils of all abilities.
For more information on these measures and their calculation methodology, see the secondary accountability guidance.

There was a recent change to the way pupils are allocated to Key stage 2 prior attainment groups
In 2016, changes were introduced to KS2 national curriculum tests, with pupil outcomes expressed as KS2 scaled scores instead of national curriculum levels. A pupil’s prior attainment at KS4 is now calculated as the average of their scaled scores in English reading and maths. These changes were first seen in the 2020/21 statistical release.

Most pupils who reached the end of KS4 in 2022/23 took national curriculum tests in summer 2018.  A few may have completed KS4 in a longer or shorter period of time, and will have taken national curriculum tests in 2017 or 2019.

Within this statistical release the categories are calculated in the following way: 
• Low prior attainers have an average scaled score (average of their English reading and maths scaled scores) of below 100.
• Middle prior attainers have an average scaled score greater than or equal to 100 but less than 110.
• High prior attainers have an average scaled score greater than or equal to 110.

The scaled scores were part of a more rigorous curriculum that raised the level of expectations of young people’s mastery of literacy and numeracy. Further detail on the changes can be found here. The change altered the distribution of the number of pupils in each prior attainment category. The data for the latest five years, 2018/19 to 2022/23, is set out in the following table: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/data-tables/fast-track/7eb8d824-f7c2-498c-8957-08dbcef70f80

The table shows there are fewer pupils in the higher prior attainment group compared to the old methodology. In 2022/23 23.5%of the KS4 cohort, with both KS2 and KS4 results available, were in the higher KS2 prior attainment group. In 2021/22, the proportion was 21.9% compared with 43.6% in 2018/19.

The size of the middle KS2 prior attainment group in 2022/23 has grown to 53.7% from 51.9% in 2021/22 and 44.6% in 2018/19. The percentage of pupils in the low KS2 prior attainment group in 2022/23 is 22.8%. It is lower than 26.2% in 2021/22 but much higher than 11.8% in 2018/19.

Due to the changes in methodology for prior attainment, and the subsequent variation in cohort numbers for each group we will not be making attainment comparisons between 2022/23 and 2019/20 or earlier.

Further details on EBacc entry by prior attainment is in Table 3 and data on pupils' attainment by prior attainment is covered in Table 13

 

EBacc entry and subjects entered

The percentage of pupils entering the full EBacc has increased compared to last year and has been broadly stable since 2013/14.

The percentage of pupils entered for all five EBacc components (English, maths, a science, a language, and either history or geography) has fallen from 40.0% in 2018/19 to 39.3% in 2022/23 but increased from 38.7% in 2021/22. 

Figure 2 shows the EBacc entry rate over the last 14 academic years. After initial increases between 2009/10 and 2013/14 the EBacc entry rate has been broadly stable, at between 38% to 40%, since 2013/14.

Subject entries for exams taken in 2021/22 may have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic as entry choices would have largely been made in Spring 2020.

 

EBacc entry by prior attainment - pupils with higher prior attainment were more likely to enter the full EBacc

A pupil’s prior attainment is based on their KS2 results in reading and maths and the overall distribution of pupil performance at KS2 is split into three categories: low, middle and high prior attainment.

As previously set out, the way the prior attainment groups are calculated changed in 2021 due to the introduction of KS2 scaled scores in 2016. This change has had an impact on the number of pupils in each prior attainment group (with fewer pupils in the high prior attainment group and more pupils in the middle and lower prior attainment groups) and means that comparisons with years prior to 2021 are not possible.

In the 2022/23 academic year, 39.3% of pupils (238,323 pupils out of 606,915) were entered for all five EBacc components, higher than 38.7% of pupils (227,595 pupils out of 587,660) in the 2021/22 academic year. Pupils with higher prior attainment were more likely to enter all five EBacc components:
• 61.9% of pupils with high prior attainment at KS2 entered all five EBacc components.
• 39.8% of pupils with middle prior attainment entered all five EBacc components.
• 15.4% of pupils with low prior attainment entered all five EBacc components.

86.2% of pupils entered four or more EBacc components

The proportion of pupils who were entered for four or more components has remained fairly stable in 2022/23; 86.2% compared with 86.7% in 2021/22 (and 86.5% in 2018/19). Of those pupils who entered four out of the five EBacc components in state-funded schools:

• 88.9% were missing the languages component in 2022/23, up from 87.5% in 2021/22 and 86.0% in 2018/19.
• 10.8% were missing the humanities component in 2022/23, down from 12.2% in 2021/22 and 13.6% in 2018/19.
 

Figure 5 shows the time series for pupils entering the science, humanities and language pillars. Between 2009/10 and 2013/14, there were gradual increases in the proportions entering these pillars with more pupils entering sciences followed by humanities and languages.

From 2013/14 onwards, the percentage of pupils entering sciences and humanities has increased considerably. However, the percentage of pupils entering languages has steadily decreased from 50.5% in 2013/14 to 44.7% in 2022/23.

Further information on the number of GCSE entries by subject is available in the downloadable files. For example, the subject time series data can be used to show time series of entries to language GCSEs from 2009/10 to 2022/23. This table is available here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/data-tables/fast-track/13fbed11-f7b3-47cf-2e72-08dc218f4f9b

Attainment in the individual EBacc pillars is highest in English

The national EBacc APS score in 2022/23 has decreased compared to 2021/22, down to 4.05 from 4.27. A value of 4.05 for the EBacc APS means it was, on average, above grade 4 and has decreased slightly by 0.02 points between 2018/19 and 2022/23.

For the individual EBacc pillars, over recent years, attainment has been highest in English, then maths, followed by sciences, humanities and the lowest attainment is in languages. 

In 2022/23, the gap between the EBacc English APS (the highest attainment) and the EBacc Languages APS (the lowest attainment) is 2.69 points (a difference of over two and a half grades). This difference has decreased from 2.83 points to 2.69 between 2021/22 and 2022/23. This gap, of 2.69 points, was almost the same as in 2018/19 (2.68).

For wider context, in 2022/23, the proportion of pupils who achieved all five components of the EBacc at grades 5 or above was 17.0%. This has dropped from 20.3% in 2021/22, but is similar to the 17.1% seen in 2018/19. The proportion of pupils who achieved all five components of the EBacc at grades 4 or above was 24.2%. Again, this is down compared to 2021/22 (26.8%) and is also down compared to 2018/19 (24.9%).

Further information is available in the downloadable files that shows the distribution of individual grades and the average attainment (e.g. the percentage of pupils achieving grades 9-4 and equivalents) in specific GCSE subjects over time. In addition, Transition Matrices are also available to view, for individual GCSE subjects, the grades achieved by pupils entering that subject in 2022/23, broken down by detailed prior attainment and pupil characteristics. A new app based product for the 2022/23 Transition Matrices, allowing more interaction for users, can be viewed at the following link: Transition Matrices.

Comparing KS4 headline measures over time

The time series data for the main KS4 headline measures are shown in Table 1 at the start of this release. The attainment measures have been affected by changes in methodology following the cancellation of GCSE exams for the 2019/20 and 2020/21 academic years, and by their replacement with centre assessed grades (CAGs) and teacher assessed grades (TAGs). They have also been impacted by the changes to the 2022 methodology relating to the approach to grading for 2022 exams broadly reflecting a midpoint between results in 2019 and 2021, then a return to pre-pandemic conditions for 2023.

Therefore, the changes seen in the headline attainment statistics likely reflect the changes in approach to grading in different years and in the methodology for calculating the measures rather than demonstrating changes in standards.

Whilst it is not possible to compare pupil attainment across years to detect changes in pupil performance, the data can show whether attainment gaps for pupils with particular characteristics have changed between years.

The next sections provide data on EBacc entry and the headline attainment measures by various pupil characteristics (e.g. by disadvantage status, first language, Special Educational Needs, gender, ethnicity and prior attainment) for 2019, 2022 and 2023 to identify any changes in attainment gaps.

 

Attainment by disadvantage status

Disadvantaged pupils and the disadvantage gap index

Pupils are defined as disadvantaged if they are known to have been eligible for free school meals at any point in the past six years (from year 6 to year 11), if they are recorded as having been looked after for at least one day or if they are recorded as having been adopted from care.

The proportion of pupils at the end of Key stage 4 in state-funded schools recorded as disadvantaged has been stable in recent year (26.5% in 2018/19, 26.4% in 2021/22 and 26.3% in 2022/23). For more information on changes to the disadvantaged cohort please visit our methodology document.

 

The disadvantage gap index reduced between 2011 and 2014 from 4.07 to 3.74 (indicating that the attainment gap between disadvantaged pupils and other pupils was becoming smaller). It then widened slightly in 2015 and 2016 to around 3.8, before narrowing to its joint lowest level at 3.66 in 2017. Before the pandemic, the gap index widened again going from 3.66 to 3.70 between 2017 and 2019. It narrowed slightly in 2020 to 3.66 when CAGs were used to award grades, before widening again in 2021, 2022 and 2023 where it now stands at 3.94, the highest level since 2011.

The widening of the disadvantage gap index may reflect the difficult circumstances that many pupils will have experienced over the last few academic years which saw various restrictions put in place in response to the COVID-19 pandemic (e.g. periods of lockdowns and tiers) that resulted in restricted attendance to schools and periods of home learning.

The disadvantage gap index summarises the attainment gap between disadvantaged pupils and all other pupils

The disadvantage gap index has been created to be a more resilient measure (than the binary category of disadvantage) of changes over time in attainment that may have been affected by, for example, the GCSE reforms introduced in 2017 and associated changes to headline measures (e.g. moving away from 5 or more GCSEs to average Attainment 8 scores).

The disadvantage gap index summarises the relative attainment gap (based on the average grades achieved in English and maths GCSEs) between disadvantaged pupils and all other pupils. The index ranks all pupils in state-funded schools in England and assesses whether disadvantaged pupils typically rank lower than non-disadvantaged pupils. A disadvantage gap of zero would indicate that pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds perform as well as pupils from non-disadvantaged backgrounds. We measure whether the disadvantage gap is getting larger or smaller over time.

Whilst the absolute differences (in English and maths GCSE grades) may differ between years the gap index measures results in terms of how disadvantaged pupils are ranked in comparison to non-disadvantaged pupils, therefore it offers greater comparability between years.

More details regarding the methodology and the consultation were published in SFR 40/2014

Attainment by disadvantage status

Entry to EBacc and attainment across each headline measure was lower for disadvantaged pupils compared to all other pupils in 2023.

The attainment gap, showing the differences between disadvantaged pupils and non-disadvantaged pupils, has widened in Attainment 8 when comparing to both 2018/19 exam data and 2021/22 data. For the percentage achieving grades 5 and above in English and maths, the gap has widened since 2018/19, but has slightly narrowed compared to 2021/22. Table 8 shows:

•The percentage of pupils achieving grades 5 and above in English and maths, the gap narrowed in 2022/23 compared to 2021/22 (27.4 down to 27.2) but widened compared to 2018/19 (25.2 up to 27.2).

• The average Attainment 8 gap has widened from 13.6 points in 2018/19 and 15.2 points in 2021/22 to 15.3 points in 2022/23. The widening between 2021/22 and 2022/23 was caused by the disadvantaged group having a larger decrease than the non-disadvantaged group.

• The gap widened slightly for the EBacc APS from 1.35 points in 2018/19 to 1.47 points in 2021/22 and remained unchanged in 2022/23. Non-disadvantaged pupils had a slightly larger decrease between 2022 and 2023 than the disadvantaged group.

• The gap has narrowed for the rate of entry to the full EBacc from 17.0 percentage points in 2018/19 and 16.1 percentage points in 2021/22 to 15.7 percentage points in 2022/23. 

Progress 8 scores for disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged pupils showed that non-disadvantaged pupils averaged a Progress 8 score of 0.17, whereas disadvantaged pupils averaged a Progress 8 score of -0.57. This means non-disadvantaged pupils, on average, progressed more than expected when compared to similar pupils in their prior attainment group, whereas disadvantaged pupils achieved half a grade less than expected by the end of KS4.

Attainment by first language status

“First language” is the language to which a child was initially exposed  to during early development and continues to be exposed to in the home or in the community. Being A pupil whose first language is other than English does not mean that the pupil is necessarily fluent in a language other than English or cannot speak English.

In 2022/23, 18.0% of pupils at the end of KS4 in state-funded schools had a first language other than English (excluding those pupils whose first language is unclassified). In 2021/22, it was 17.1% and in 2018/19 it was 16.7%

In 2018/19, 2021/22 and 2022/23 pupils with English as an additional language (EAL) have had slightly better attainment than pupils with English as their first language (non-EAL) across all the headline measures.

However, when comparing 2022/23 data with both 2018/19 exam data and 2021/22 data, the gaps in attainment between EAL and non-EAL pupils have widened, in favour of EAL pupils. For example:

• The biggest difference is in the percentage achieving grades 5 and above in English and maths where the gap has widened to 4.3 percentage points, compared to 0.6 percentage points and 4.1 percentage points in 2018/19 and 2021/22 respectively. Both EAL and non-EAL pupils had an increase between 2019 and 2023, however both EAL and non-EAL pupils then had a decrease between 2022 and 2023.

• The average Attainment 8 gap has widened from 1.0 points in 2018/19 and 2.1 points in 2021/22 to 2.6 points in 2022/23. EAL pupils saw an increase between 2019 and 2023 of 0.9 points, however non-EAL saw a decrease of 0.8 points. Both groups saw a drop compared to 2022.

• The same pattern is also seen for EBacc APS, which widened from 0.23 points in 2018/19 and 0.36 points in 2021/22  to 0.41 points in 2022/23. This was caused by the non-EAL group having a decrease between 2019 and 2023, whereas the EAL group saw an increase compared to 2019. Both groups saw a drop compared to 2022.

• The gap has also increased for the rate of entry to the full EBacc; from 11.2 percentage points in 2018/19 and 14.3 percentage points in 2021/22 to 14.5 percentage points in 2022/23.

• Both EAL and non-EAL groups saw increased EBacc entry from 2021/2022 to 2022/23. 

Progress 8 scores for EAL and non-EAL pupils showed that EAL pupils averaged a Progress 8 score of 0.51 whereas non-EAL pupils averaged a Progress 8 score of -0.12. This means EAL pupils, on average, progressed over half a grade more than expected when compared to similar pupils in their prior attainment group, whereas non-EAL pupils achieved around 1/10th of a grade less than expected by the end of KS4.

Attainment by Special Educational Needs (SEN) status

The SEN category indicates whether a pupil has learning difficulties or disabilities that make it harder for them to learn than most children of the same age. Pupils with Special Educational Needs include those with SEN support or an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan. More information on these is given in the methodology document.

In 2022/23, 16.5% of pupils at the end of Key stage 4 in state-funded schools had a Special Educational Need compared with 15.7% in 2021/22 and 14.2% in 2018/19.

In 2018/19 and 2021/22 pupils with SEN have had significantly lower attainment than pupils without SEN across all the headline measures.

When comparing 2022/23 data with both 2018/19 and 2021/22 data, the gaps in attainment between SEN and non-SEN pupils have shown the following changes: 

• the gap for the percentage achieving grades 5 and above in English and maths has narrowed from 34.4 percentage points in 2018/19 and 37.5 percentage points in 2021/22, to 34.0 percentage points in 2022/23.

• the same pattern was seen in the average Attainment 8 gap which widened from 22.3 points to 23.1 points between 2018/19 and 2021/22, but again narrowed in 2022/23 to 21.9 points

• the pattern was again seen in the EBacc APS gap which widened from 2.15 points to 2.21 points between 2018/19 and 2021/22, but again narrowed in 2022/23 to 2.09 points. 

The above patterns were all caused by the non-SEN group having a larger increase in attainment between 2019 and 2022, but also a larger decrease in attainment between 2022 and 2023.

• the gap for the rate of entry to the full EBacc has been narrowing in recent years, from 31 percentage points in 2018/19 to 29.3 percentage points in 2021/22 and to 28.9 percentage points in 2022/23. Though both groups showed slightly increased EBacc entry in the latest year, the EBacc entry of non-SEN pupils is slightly lower than in 2019 whereas SEN pupils is higher. Though it should be noted EBacc entry for SEN pupils is already much lower at 15.2% in 2022/23, compared to 44.1% for non-SEN pupils.

Progress 8 scores for SEN and non-SEN pupils showed that non-SEN pupils averaged a Progress 8 score of 0.10 whereas SEN pupils averaged a Progress 8 score of -0.62. This means non-SEN pupils, on average, progressed more than expected when compared to similar pupils in their prior attainment group, whereas SEN pupils achieved around 2/3rds of a grade less than expected by the end of KS4.

Attainment by ethnicity

For the 2022/23 release, Chinese pupils are now classified as part of the Asian ethnic major category. This is a change from previous years, and means users should exercise caution when making comparisons over time.

In 2022/23, pupils from the White major ethnic category made up 72.9% of pupils at the end of Key stage 4 in state-funded schools (of those where ethnicity data was provided). 12.3% of pupils were from the Asian ethnic category, 6.4% were from the Black ethnic category, 6.2% were from the Mixed ethnic category and 2.2% were from Other ethnic categories.

When looking at the EBacc entry rate between 2021/22 and 2022/23, no ethnic categories saw a decrease, although the Black and Mixed categories remained the same. Pupils from the Asian ethnic category saw an increase of 1.6 percentage point compared to 2021/22. Pupils from the White and Other categories remained relatively stable, changing by around half a percentage point or less.

For the average Attainment 8 measure all major ethnic groups have seen decreases of between 1.5 (Asian) and 2.7 (Mixed and White) points when comparing 2021/22 and 2022/23. However, the Asian and Black ethnic groups have seen increases of 1.9 and 1.7 points respectively compared to 2018/19 – which means they are achieving, on average, more than one and a half grades more across 8 subjects compared to 2018/19. Pupils from the Mixed, White and Other categories have all seen decreases compared to 2018/19.

For Progress 8 in 2022/23, pupils from the Asian & Other categories have the highest average score with 0.53 each. Followed by pupils from the Black ethnic category who have a score of 0.22, while pupils from the Mixed and White ethnic categories are the only groups with negative Progress 8 scores with -0.04 and -0.14 respectively.

Progress 8 measures a pupil’s performance against other pupils with similar prior attainment at the end of KS2. Therefore, a pupil with a score of 0.53 averages just over half a grade more than expected when compared to the rest of their prior attainment cohort.

Further information on the attainment of pupils from the detailed ethnicity categories is available here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/data-tables/fast-track/1b97d535-2331-465a-8953-08dbcef70f80

Attainment by gender

In 2022/23, 48.8% of pupils at the end of Key stage 4 in state-funded schools were girls and 51.2% were boys. This is a very small change compared to the last year, where 48.9% of pupils were girls and 51.1% were boys. 

As in previous years, more girls enter the full EBacc than boys and girls continue to do better than boys across all headline attainment measures.

However, across all measures the gap has narrowed when comparing 2022/23 data with both 2018/19 and 2021/22.
• the gap for the percentage achieving grades 5 and above in English and maths has narrowed from 6.6 percentage points in 2018/19 and 5.7 percentage points in 2021/22 to 4.3 percentage points in 2022/23. The narrowing between 2022 and 2023 was driven by girls seeing a larger decrease (-5.2 ppt vs -3.8 ppt).

• the average Attainment 8 gap also saw the same pattern, narrowing slightly from 5.5 points in 2018/19 to 5.1 points in 2021/22 and to 4.6 points in 2022/23; the same can be said for the EBacc APS gap which slightly narrowed from 0.48 to 0.44 between 2018/19 and 2021/22, and continued to narrow to 0.38 in 2022/23
• the gap has also narrowed for the rate of entry to the full EBacc; from 11.6 and 9.9 percentage points in 2018/19 and 2021/22 to 8.9 percentage points in 2022/23, caused by boys having an increase in EBacc entry between 2022 and 2023, where the girls rate remained the same.

Progress 8 scores for girls and boys showed that girls averaged a Progress 8 score of 0.12 whereas boys averaged a Progress 8 score of -0.17. This means girls, on average, progressed more than expected when compared to similar pupils in their prior attainment group, whereas boys achieved nearly one fifth of a grade less than expected by the end of KS4.

Attainment by Key stage 2 prior attainment

The calculation for the prior attainment categories changed in 2020/21 as a consequence of the introduction of Key stage 2 scaled scores in 2016. As discussed earlier, the introduction of KS2 scaled scores has had an impact on the distribution of pupils by prior attainment. In summary, the impact has been to reduce the number of pupils in the high prior attainment group and increase the number of pupils in the low and middle prior attainment groups.

This means that caution is required when comparing the results over time. 

Table 13 shows the headline measures by KS2 prior attainment over the last two years. Pupils with high prior attainment continue to have better attainment levels than those pupils in the middle prior attainment group and much better attainment levels than those pupils in the low prior attainment group - across all headline measures. 

When comparing 2022/23 data with 2021/22 data, the gaps in attainment between pupils in the high prior attainment category and pupils in the low prior attainment category have shown the following changes:  

•The gap for the percentage achieving grades 5 and above in English and maths has increased, going from 80.5 percentage points in 2021/22 to 81.3 percentage points in 2022/23. Both the high and low prior attainment groups saw decreases between 2022 and 2023, but the low prior attainment group decrease was slightly larger.

• The average Attainment 8 gap has increased slightly across 2021/22 and 2022/23 up to 40.4 points from 39.9, driven by the low prior attainment group seeing a slightly larger decrease.

• The EBacc APS gap has increased slightly from 4.01 percentage points in 2021/22 to 4.02 percentage points in 2022/23.

• The gap has decreased for the rate of entry to the full EBacc; from 47.2 percentage points in 2021/22, down to 46.5 percentage points in 2022/23, driven by the high prior attainment group having a bigger decrease than the low prior attainment group. Though it should be noted that the EBacc entry rate for the low prior attainment group was much lower than the high prior attainment group (15.4% compared to 61.9%).

Average GCSE grades for English & Mathematics

The 2022/23 figures in this section have been revised to improve comparability of the cohorts in 2018/19 and 2022/23, by including all pupils at the end of Key stage 4 who were not entered into the subjects. This has resulted in a small reduction in the averages.

In March 2022, the Schools White Paper set  a new ambition to “increase the national GCSE average grade in both English language and in maths from 4.5 in 2019 to 5 by 2030”. 

This is the first year this metric has been published, but it will continue to be published annually up to 2030. 

The current figures show that the average grade for English language has remained stable at 4.5 whilst the average grade for mathematics has increased to 4.6, up from the initial 4.5 baseline figure announced for 2018/19.

SubjectYearAverage GCSE grade
English language2022/234.5
Mathematics2022/234.6

More information on this can be seen in the Methodology Paper for obtaining mean GCSE grades for English & Mathematics

Attainment by Region and local authority

Pupil attainment levels by region and local authority vary considerably

Pupil attainment varies considerably across the country. The variation in EBacc entry and the headline attainment statistics by region is shown in the following table: 

   Attainment MeasureMinimumMaximumRange
% entering EBacc31.5%58.7%27.2 percentage points
% achieving 5 or above in English and Maths41.7%54.9%13.2 percentage points
Average Attainment 8 score per pupil44.551.06.5 points
EBacc Average Point Score3.844.620.78 points

The variation in EBacc entry and the headline attainment statistics by local authority is shown in the following table: 

   Attainment MeasureMinimumMaximumRange
% entering EBacc16.7%70.3%53.6 percentage points
% achieving 5 or above in English and Maths19.5%69.2%49.7 percentage points
Average Attainment 8 score per pupil33.359.926.6 points
EBacc Average Point Score2.815.422.61 points

Understandably, there is less variance at regional level due to these being made up of a wide range of local authorities performing at different levels. The local authorities with the highest pupil attainment averages tend to be concentrated in London and the south with the majority of the local authorities with the lowest pupil attainment averages located in the northern and midland regions (as shown in the map in figure 14). This is similar to patterns seen in recent years, and this is generally reflected at regional level

Ready Reckoners and Transition Matrices Tools

We have moved our Ready Reckoners and Transition Matrices tools into web based apps for easier use. These are available at the following links:

Ready Reckoners

Transition Matrices

Attainment in Multi-academy trusts

This section focuses on the attainment and progress of pupils who attended schools that were in multi-academy trusts (MATs) in England. Following a review of last year’s release, this section (and the equivalent in the Key stage 2 attainment and A level and other 16 to 18 results statistical releases) replaces the standalone release on attainment in MATs. We would welcome any feedback on how we can best present national data on the academies sector in future, or an any other aspect of this release at Attainment.STATISTICS@education.gov.uk.

Background 

Multi-academy trusts (MATs) can comprise converter academies, sponsored academies, free schools, studio schools, and/or university technical colleges (UTCs): 

  • Converter academies are largely high performing schools that have chosen to convert to academy status.  
  • Sponsored academies were deemed by the Department for Education to be underperforming and were required to join a trust to improve their performance.  
  • Free schools, studio schools and UTCs  are brand new academies with no predecessor school. Studio schools and UTCs typically start educating pupils at age 14 and provide a specialist technical and professional education. It is not appropriate to expect the same rates of EBacc entry from these types of schools and colleges. There is also a much smaller number of these types of academies.  

Due to the different historic performance of schools that become sponsored or converter academies and those which remain LA maintained, simple comparisons between the whole MAT sector and other state-funded schools will not be meaningful and are not made in this publication. 

Further, caution should be taken when comparing national MAT statistics across years as the composition of the academies and MATs included continues to vary, as the sector matures. 

The measures cover state-funded mainstream schools within MATs only. Special schools, pupil referral units, alternative provision academies and alternative provision free schools are not included. 

Eligibility criteria 

In MAT performance tables data, accountability measures are only produced at key stage 4 for MATs: 

  • that have at least three academies with results at KS4, and 
  • where those academies have been with the MAT for at least three academic years (defined as having joined that MAT before 14 September 2020 for academic year 2022/23). 

We do this so that we include data at MAT level for MATs that are sufficiently well established to have had time to a) have an impact on the performance of schools within the MAT and b) so that aggregate data tells you more than the individual institution data would.

Performance tables data for eligible MATs can be found at the Compare school and college performance website

The commentary in this section focuses on pupils in academies that meet the eligibility criteria, as this is the accountability measure for MATs; but figures are also provided for those in all other academies in MATs, as well as an all academies in MATs total, for wider context. 

Users need to exercise caution when considering comparisons over time. This is due to the changes in approach to grading between 2022 and 2023. It is expected that performance in 2023 will generally be lower than in 2022. In 2022 outcomes broadly reflected a mid-point midpoint between 2019 and 2021, to take account of the impact of the pandemic and in line with Ofqual’s approach to grading in 2022.

National performance in MATs 

The data below shows that for academies meeting the eligibility criteria: 

  • As would be expected given their historic performance prior to becoming academies, attainment was higher in converter academies compared to sponsored academies across all attainment measures.  
  • Attainment was higher in free schools compared to converter academies. 
  • Average Progress 8 scores were 0.08 in converter academies, -0.19 in sponsored academies, and 0.32 in free schools. 

Pupils in academies that were ineligible for the MAT performance tables data tended to have higher attainment than those in eligible academies. This is to be expected because the proportion of converter academies to sponsored academies is greater in ineligible academies than eligible academies. Progress 8 scores were not different between eligible and ineligible academies. 

Further information is available

School level figures  The school level data for the 2022/23 academic year is the latest available data and can be found in the Compare School and College Performance.
Characteristics breakdowns Characteristics breakdowns are included in this release. 
Previously published figuresAll previous similar statistical releases can be found via the Gov.UK collections page Statistics: GCSEs (key stage 4) - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Attainment for other Key stages 

Data on other Key stages can be found at the following links: 

Early years foundation stage profile 

Key stage 1 

Key stage 2 

16-19 attainment 

Destination measures 

Figures for young people who went into education, employment or training destinations the year after they completed Key stage 4 or Key stage 5 can be found at the following link: 

Destinations of key stage 4 and 16 to 18 pupils 

Attainment in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland 

Information on educational attainment for secondary schools in Wales is available from the Welsh Government website. 

Information on educational attainment for secondary schools in Scotland is available from Scottish Government website.

Information on educational attainment for secondary schools in Northern Ireland is available from the Department for Education Northern Ireland (DENI) website. 

Information published by JCQ and Ofqual 

Detailed information on the grade awarding process: Ofqual guide for schools and colleges 2023 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)


Summer 2023 exam results: Examination results - JCQ Joint Council for Qualifications


Ofqual has also published their analysis of the summer 2023 GCSE results: Equalities analysis: executive summary - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Help and support

Methodology

Find out how and why we collect, process and publish these statistics.

National statistics

These accredited official statistics have been independently reviewed by the Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR). They comply with the standards of trustworthiness, quality and value in the Code of Practice for Statistics. Accredited official statistics are called National Statistics in the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007.

Accreditation signifies their compliance with the authority's Code of Practice for Statistics which broadly means these statistics are:

  • managed impartially and objectively in the public interest
  • meet identified user needs
  • produced according to sound methods
  • well explained and readily accessible

Our statistical practice is regulated by the Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR).

OSR sets the standards of trustworthiness, quality and value in the Code of Practice for Statistics that all producers of official statistics should adhere to.

You are welcome to contact us directly with any comments about how we meet these standards. Alternatively, you can contact OSR by emailing regulation@statistics.gov.uk or via the OSR website.

Contact us

If you have a specific enquiry about Key stage 4 performance statistics and data:

Attainment statistics team

Email: Attainment.STATISTICS@education.gov.uk
Contact name: Liam Hamilton

Press office

If you have a media enquiry:

Telephone: 020 7783 8300

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If you have a general enquiry about the Department for Education (DfE) or education:

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