London Councils statement on GCSE results 2017

  • By Jourdan Wong-Mu...

Cllr Peter John OBE, Deputy Chair of London Councils and Executive member with responsibility for schools, said:

“Good luck to all London students receiving their GCSE results today. London has historically achieved outstanding GCSE results and is likely to do well again this year, thanks to the hard work and commitment to excellence of young people across the capital, as well as their teachers and head teachers.

“Changes to the grading scales for English and Mathematics this year will make it difficult to immediately compare and contrast with the previous year’s results at school or regional level, but this will not diminish the achievements of London’s children.

"However London’s schools are still facing significant cost pressures that without sufficient additional funding will impact their ability to provide a good education. We welcome the Secretary of State for Education’s recent commitment of £1.3bn extra  funding for two years but until details of how this funding will be allocated emerge, schools in London will face considerable uncertainty about how they will balance the books.  

“It is vital that education budgets across the country are  fully protected in the face of mounting cost pressures, so that every child in England can benefit from a high quality education that prepares them for the rest of their lives.” 


Notes to editors:

Changes to the GCSE grading system

What is happening?

Ofqual has changed the grading of English and Mathematics GCSEs to make them more challenging. Grading will now be from 9 to 1 (9 is the highest grade) rather than A* to G.

In December 2016 Ofqual announced these changes, which schools have to comply with. Another 20 subjects will have this grading in 2018, with most others following in 2019.

The old and new GCSE grading scales do not directly compare but there are three points where they align:

The bottom of grade 7 is aligned with the bottom of grade A;
The bottom of grade 4 is aligned with the bottom of grade C; and
The bottom of grade 1 is aligned with the bottom of grade G.
In general, the Department for Education (DfE) expects a pupil who would have got a C or above in last year's exams to get a 4 or above this year.

These changes are only happening to GCSEs regulated in England. Wales and Northern Ireland are also making changes to their GCSEs but are not introducing a new 9 to 1 grading scale.

There are currently no changes to AS or A level grading.


The GCSE grading scale in England has been changed by Ofqual to make it more demanding. They believe this will ensure that pupils will leave schools better prepared for work or further study. The DfE explains that the 9 to 1 grading scale allows clearer differentiation between highest performing pupils and makes clear distinction between old and new exams.

The DfE recognises grade 5 and above as a 'strong pass', a benchmark in line with the expectations of top performing education systems around the world. They will publish the proportion of pupils achieving both grade 4 and above and grade 5 and above.