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In the midst of this change, what do the result show?


1. Students achieving grade 4 and above in Maths and Physics has remained broadly the same.

59% of students achieved at least a grade 4 in Maths and 91% in Physics. For both subjects this was exactly the same percentage as last year.


2. The number of students taking Design and Technology is falling

We saw a sharp fall in the number of students taking D&T this year, from 3% last year, to 2.3% this year. Along with Maths and Physics, creative subjects like D&T are also subjects that can spark an interest in young people to consider a career in manufacturing.

This is why EEF and its members are supporting the D&T Association campaign, together with wider industry and stakeholders, to boost the number of young people choosing to study D&T pre-16.


3. It’s all a bit hard to compare!

With the change in content, grade boundaries and grading structure, this year’s results are harder to compare to previous results. As a result, many businesses will be relying on their own assessment days and entry requirements when looking to recruit.


What does this all mean?

The only way is change… The education system, in particular technical education, has seen reform after reform, and as we have said on a number of occasions, this had led to a confusing, complex landscape for both students and employers to navigate. There remains challenges with the apprenticeship levy, the T Level programme is being rushed through and the careers strategy falls short of the vision and strategy to address the skills gap and build the workforce we need for the future.

As this cohort of GCSE students collect their results, Government must work with industry to ensure we our education system aligns to the needs of our changing economy, and we inspire the next generation of creators, innovators and makers we need.

You’ve got options!

Despite these challenges, manufacturers are continuing to offer more and more opportunities including a range of high quality apprenticeships in engineering and manufacturing disciplines. For any young person, the message should be this, consider all your options including apprenticeships and don’t let A Levels be the default option.

Apprenticeships are a great alternative to higher education. It offers the unique opportunity to study and get hands-on experience in a workplace. Earning and learning at the same time is fantastic as there is no requirement for a student loan either! An apprenticeship will open doors to different, exciting opportunities in manufacturing and engineering.

Why not take our quiz to find out which apprenticeship vacancy you could apply to?

For a full breakdown of the statistics, download Ofqual's infographic explaining the results.



Blog / Infographic / STEM / Skills policy / Policy / Apprenticeships