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RESULTS DAY: Pupils celebrate outstanding GCSE results

THE waiting is finally over for 16-year-olds this morning as they collect their GCSE results from schools across the region.

This year a new numerical grading system has been put in place, replacing the traditional A*-G marks.

In Stratford District some of the first to get their exam results were pupils at Alcester Academy.

Despite the changes to the exam system, the school performed incredibly well and had the old grades been in place, 84 per cent of pupils would have achieved 5 A*-C grades, Alcester Academy's best ever performance.

Over at Alcester Grammar pupils also gained outstanding results with those studying separate sciences performing particularly well.

31 per cent of students studying separate sciences gained a 9 grade, a mark classed even higher then an A*.

Stratford Girls’ Grammar School is again celebrating the accomplishments of their Year 11 students. 77 per cent achieved grades at 9/7 andA*/A across all of their GCSEs. 30 per cent were at a Grade 9 and a further 26 per cent at a Grade 8.

At King Edward VI School in Stratford, where students study at least ten GCSEs, there

was a 100 per cent% pass rate with three-quarters of papers receiving the top 9 to 7 grades

There was also success over at Henley School as the school had a record-breaking year for GCSE results.

Overall 79 per cent of students gained a grade 4 or higher in English and Maths, well above the national average as the school recorded its highest ever results.

At Shipston High School Maths pupils were the stars of the show as 81 per cent gained the highest grades 4-9, though it was a close run thing with those studying English with 80 per cent of those students attaining 4-9 grades.

Still getting to grips with the new grading system? read on for our explanation of how it works.

The way GCSEs in England are scored is changing as the government introduced a new number grading scale last year - and more challenging content instead of the previous A*-G marks.

The new grades were phased in in 2017, starting with three subjects last summer, with most others expected to adopt the system by 2019.

Once that happens all GCSEs taken in England will receive numerical grades, but teachers say the switch is causing unnecessary confusion and will ultimately increase pressure on pupils.

Here is everything you need to know about the new GCSE grades and how they will impact your children.

What is the new grading system?

Pupils are graded from 9-1 rather than A*-G, with 9 being the top grade and 1 the lowest.

The new scoring system was first brought in for English language, English literature and Maths.

That means students taking GCSEs will receive a mixture of number and letter grades when they receive their results.

Why were the grades changed?

The new grades were introduced as part of a new curriculum that was introduced in 2014 in a bid to drive up standards.

The government said new GCSE content will be more challenging and fewer grade 9s will be awarded than A*s.

Courses are designed for two years of study and are no longer be divided into different modules.

Students take all their exams in one period at the end of their course.

The idea is to create more differentiation at the top end of the scale to allow sixth forms and universities - and employers - to understand what level the young person is at.

There are actually two pass marks now as schools will be judged by the proportion of pupils that achieve a standard pass and above a grade 4 as well as being held to account for the proportion of pupils that get a 'strong' pass - grade 5 or above.

Is a 9 the same as an A? How do the old and new grading systems compare?

No, not really. The new grading system is a grade 7 is equivalent to an A, while 9 is above an A*.

A grade 4 is basically a C.

The idea is very few will get a 9 as they will be rationed.

If you get 7s and 8s that's very good.

Grades 6, 5 and 4 are comparable to a B or C, while a 3 is similar to a D.

Grades 2 and 1 are comparable to E, F or G. The new system has kept U for ungraded.

What are the new grades?

The top is 9, lowest is U.

Do I have the grades needed for sixth form?

This will depend on your sixth form. Speak to the admissions officer at your preferred sixth form to check you have the grades you need.

The same applies for vocational courses.

Why are the reforms being criticised?

The NASUWT union said the reforms are creating "huge uncertainty" for schools and will heap more pressure on pupils.

It also fears the new scale will close some educational opportunities for students.

The union says there is confusion over grade boundaries.

When will all subjects use the new system?

Another 20 subjects have 9-1 grading now, with most others following in 2019.

Those using the new system for the first time in 2018 include biology, chemistry and physics.

The final subjects to be phased in, in 2019, include psychology, business and media studies.

Good luck to all students in the region receiving their results today.

Our reporters and photographer are out and about at high schools around the area today so check back for a summary of the schools' results and see next week's Herald for three-page special round-up.

And don't forget our two-page special A-Level results special in today's Herald.

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