GCSE and A level entries fall in Wales

Thursday 24 May 2018


Entries for GCSEs, AS and A levels have all fallen this year, according to statistics published by Qualifications Wales today.

The number of entries for GCSEs in Wales this summer are down by 13 per cent falling from 334,095 in 2017 to 290,640 in 2018. Only entries from Year 11 and Year 12 learners have increased.

Year 10 entries have seen the largest decrease, down by 78.1 per cent from 61,280 in 2017 to 13,430 this summer. This was expected following the Welsh Government change to how school performance measures are calculated; starting in 2019 only a student’s first result for a subject will count towards a school’s performance measures.

There are 44,995 AS level entries in summer 2018, down by 8.1 per cent from 48,965 in 2017. This continues a decreasing trend since summer 2015, when there were 57,030 entries.

All AS subjects have seen a decrease in entries in summer 2018, apart from Economics, Further Mathematics, Psychology and Welsh First Language.

A level entries have fallen by 5.3 per cent to 33,640 compared with 35,525 in 2017. This also follows a continuing decline since summer 2015, when there were 38,480 entries.

While A level entries are down overall some subjects are showing an increase, including Art and Design, Biology, Design and Technology and Welsh First Language.

The fall in the overall number of entries for GCSEs, AS and A levels in Wales for summer 2018 are thought to be influenced by several factors. These include changes to:

  • Population size;
  • Decisions made by schools and colleges about when to enter pupils for their GCSEs;
  • The average number of qualifications taken by individual learners, and
  • The types of qualifications taken in post-16 education and training.

“This is the first time we’ve published data on the entry numbers for the summer exam series.” said Head of Research, Tom Anderson. “We’ve looked across year groups and subjects to understand changes in patterns. In future years we will report on key trends for exams taken by learners in Wales.”

The full set of statistics are published on the Qualifications Wales website.

Notes for editors

Welsh Government announced last year that from 2019 only the first grade achieved by pupils will count towards a school’s performance measures. This announcement was informed by findings from a report by Qualifications Wales into the growing trend of early and multiple examination entries.

  • For more information please contact Alan Morris on 01633 373 216 or 07464 543 636.