Nearly Half Of All A-Level Results Were A Or A*

by : Cameron Frew on : 10 Aug 2021 11:17
Nearly Half Of All A-Level Results Were A Or A*PA

Students have achieved record A-level results across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, with nearly half of all grades being A or A*.

While people were forced to adapt to working from home during lockdown, pupils across the country were thrown into a sort of educational limbo: exams postponed, schools closed and some lessons available from home.


It’s been an unimaginably stressful time – and yet, against the odds, teenagers have prevailed with fantastic results.

Students celebrate A-level results. (PA Images)PA Images

44.8% of all A-level entries across the UK have been awarded top grades, a huge increase from last year’s 38.5% mark, The Guardian reports. In Northern Ireland, 50.8% of entries were awarded A or A*, a rise from 31% in 2019. In Wales, top results saw a 6% rise with 48.3%, while 44.3% of entries in England gained A* and A grades, compared with 38.1% the previous year.

Across England, 88.2% of grades were awarded a C or above, a small improvement on 2020’s 87.5%.


Ucas has also confirmed 396,000 students have been awarded their first choice course, an increase of 8% from last year.

England’s Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson, praised students for their hard work during an ‘extraordinary and challenging year… we should all celebrate their resilience and ability to overcome adversity,’ the MailOnline reports.

‘This year is a year we can’t compare to other years. No other cohort of students have experienced this before, being kept from the classroom not once just twice,’ he added, defending claims of ‘grade inflation’ and insisting ‘we must support these students in looking to the future’.


‘This is a culmination of 13 years in education, I think we should be incredibly proud of their achievements, incredibly proud of the grades that they achieve. We do have a rigorous system of grading and awarding. People have been awarded this grade on the basis of evidence.’

‘But still, you have a very clear grading system, you still see children who are achieving A*s, As, Bs, Cs, have really achieved so very, very much, and I think employers can have real confidence in the grades that they get. Let’s not forget this is an unprecedented year,’ he added.

In Scotland, the pass rate for Highers only dipped slightly, but grades still came in above pre-pandemic levels. While the percentage of pupils with A-C grades dropped two points, it’s still above 2019’s 75% pass rate, with a record number of awards overall. Of Advanced Higher students, 90.2% passed, with National 5 scores coming in at 85.8%.


Scottish Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said pupils up and down the country managed ‘a strong set of results, achieved under extraordinary circumstances.’

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Cameron Frew

Entertainment Editor at UNILAD. 2001: A Space Odyssey is the best film ever made, and Warrior is better than Rocky. That's all you need to know.

Topics: News, Education, Now, School, UK


The Guardian and 1 other
  1. The Guardian

    Nearly 45% of A-level entries across UK awarded top grades

  2. MailOnline

    Will pupils ever sit exams again? Gavin Williamson defends A-level grade inflation and says teacher-assessments could continue next year