Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the summer exam series was cancelled in 2020. Pupils scheduled to sit GCSE exams in 2020 were awarded either a centre assessment grade (based on what the school or college believed the student would most likely have achieved had exams gone ahead) or their calculated grade using a model developed by Ofqual - whichever was the higher of the two.
The GCSE grades awarded to pupils in 2020 will remain with them as they stay on in further and higher education or enter employment after leaving school. However, the cancellation of summer 2020 GCSE exams and the new method of awarding grades has led to a set of pupil attainment statistics that are unlike previous years.
Each of the pupil level attainment statistics have increased - more than would be expected in a typical year - between the 2018/19 and 2019/20 academic years. This reflects the change to the way GCSE grades were awarded rather than improvements in pupil performance. As a result the 2019/20 attainment data should not be directly compared to data from previous years for the purpose of measuring changes in student performance.
For more information see the key stage 4 performance statistics release for academic year 2019/20.
Children in the key social care groups perform less well than their peers across all key stage 4 measures. However, looked after children and children in need reaching the end of key stage 4 are much more likely to have an SEN than all children. This accounts for part of the difference between all pupils and looked after children and children in need.
Attainment 8 measures the average achievement of pupils in up to 8 qualifications. This includes: English language; English literature (if only one GCSE in English is taken then it is double weighted); 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.
The average Attainment 8 score has increased for all pupils and across all of the key social care groups in 2020. This increase is a result of the greater number of pupils with higher grades from this year’s GCSE awarding process.
As in previous years, the average Attainment 8 scores in 2020 for all of the key social care groups were less than half that compared to the overall pupil population.
Within the key social care groups, CPPO at 31 March had the highest average score of 21.8 and CLA for less than 12 months performed least well with an average of 16.7.
Attainment in English and maths (grades 5 or above)
This measure looks at the percentage of pupils achieving grade 5 or above in both English and maths GCSEs. To meet the English requirement in 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.
The percentage of pupils achieving grade 5 or above in both English and maths GCSEs has increased across all of the key social care groups in 2020, reflecting the higher graded results received this year.
The attainment of pupils across most of the key social care groups (apart from children looked after for less than 12 months) was broadly similar.
The 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. This measure is less likely to have been affected by the cancellation of exams as schools will have taken most of their entry decisions ahead of the COVID-19 disruption.
The percentage of pupils entering the English Baccalaureate has increased slightly for most key social care groups whilst decreasing slightly for all pupils. However, the changes are small at less than 1 percentage point between 2019 and 2020.
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 EBacc average point score has increased across the key social care groups and all pupils and stands at 1.7 for pupils in most of the key social care groups.