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Summary of provisional GCSE and equivalent results in England 2015-1613

The Department for Education (DfE) has just published Provisional GCSE and equivalent results in England, 2015 to 2016. Some of the key findings are outlined below – Education data lab have also released an analysis of the data which may be of interest.

Key findings   

  • Attainment has increased across the headline measures in 2016 compared to the equivalent provisional data from 2015, both for all schools and state-funded schools. The DfE analysis suggests that these increases are likely to be due to a range of factors across the measures, including a range of behaviour changes as schools adapt to the new accountability system, and changes in methodology.   
  • The average number of entries to qualifications which count in the performance tables per pupil has increased. This is particularly true for pupils with low prior attainment.


  • The proportion of pupils entering and achieving the EBacc continues to increase, with 39.6% of pupils in state-funded schools entering the EBacc in 2016 and 24.5% achieving. Although entries have increased by 1%, achievement has only increased by 0.6%. However overall there have been only small increases in entry and attainment since 2014.
  • Of those pupils who entered four out of the five EBacc components, the majority (77.7%) were missing the languages component in 2016, up from 67.4% in 2015.
  • Entries to EBacc English, maths and languages are stable, with large increases to entries in EBacc science and humanities. 

Progress 8

  • 2016 is the first year in which Progress 8 scores have been published for all state-funded schools. A Progress 8 score of above 0 means a school is making above average progress.
  • Progress 8 scores for mainstream schools7 at school level run from -2.5 to 1.5, with approximately 97% of schools' scores between -1.0 and +0.7 in 2016.

Attainment by school type

  • Academies and free schools have a slightly higher average attainment 8 score than local authority maintained mainstream schools (51.2 compared to 49.8) Academies and free schools also have a higher Progress 8 score (0.03 compared to -0.03 for maintained mainstream schools). 
  • Converter academies have on average higher attainment across the headline measures than the average for state-funded schools. This may be explained by the fact that these were already high performing schools that chose to convert to academies.
  • The converse may be true of sponsored academies, which perform below the average for state-funded schools, as these are schools that were already low performing before their conversion to academy status.
  • There were increases in the percentage of pupils achieving the EBacc in both sponsored academies (+1.1 ppt) and converter academies (+0.7 ppt) between 2015 and 2016 (to 14.5% and 30.3%, respectively). Over the same period, the percentage of pupils achieving the EBacc in LA maintained mainstream schools remained stable, at 22.9% in 2015 to 23.0% in 2016.
  • There were increases in attainment of 5+ A*-C including English and maths in both sponsored academies and converter academies between 2015 and 2016, with a rise of 1.7 ppt for sponsored academies and a rise of 0.6 ppt for converter academies (to 46.6% and 63.8%, respectively). Over the same period, attainment in LA maintained mainstream schools increased from 55.3% to 55.8% (an increase of 0.5 percentage points).

Attainment by admissions basis

  • Looking at comprehensive schools, selective schools and modern schools, selective schools achieve the highest results, with an average Attainment 8 score of 69.0, and Progress 8 score of 0.33, which is a statistically significant above average. Comprehensive schools, which 92% of the pupils in state-funded mainstream schools attend, have an average Attainment 8 score of 50.0, and Progress 8 in line with the national average. Modern schools have the lowest attainment of the three groups, with average Attainment 8 score of 47.6, and Progress 8 -0.05, just below the national average. Much of the difference in attainment can be explained by the prior attainment intake of each school type.
  • Results in faith schools are slightly higher than the national average. Muslim and Jewish schools are the highest performers, but there are only eight and 11 schools with each religious character respectively.
  • Provisional data for average Attainment 8 score per pupil show that the highest performing local authorities are concentrated in London and the South. The majority of the lowest performing local authorities are located in the Northern and Midland regions. This is a similar pattern to recent years when compared against 2015 Attainment 8 scores and provisional scores for 5+ A*-C including English and maths for 2016, suggesting that the change in headline measures has not greatly affected performance by region.

Progress 8 and Attainment 8 - key 2016 figures released       

The DfE has released new information for schools about the Progress 8 measure, including updated guidance on how the Progress 8 school performance measure will be calculated in 2016, and key figures relating to Progress 8 and Attainment 8 in 2016. They have also produced a Progress 8 pupil ready reckoner that allows schools to calculate Progress 8 scores for individual pupils, and a school ready reckoner that allows the user to see how their school Progress 8 score has been calculated from individual pupil Progress 8 scores.

First published 02 January 2018