Fall in students getting top A-level results

Parts of the Black Country and Staffordshire were among the lowest achieving areas for pupils with top A-level grades last year, according to Department for Education figures.

Parts of the Black Country and Staffordshire posted the fewest top A-level grades in the country
Parts of the Black Country and Staffordshire posted the fewest top A-level grades in the country

In Sandwell just 2.3 per cent of pupils who sat their A-levels this year received three A*-A grades – down from 3.7 per cent in 2017-18 and well below the national average of 12.3 per cent.

The number of students who achieved AAB or better also decreased from six per cent to 5.2 per cent this year, although the average point score across all schools in the borough rose slightly to to 25.6, equivalent to a lower C grade.

How your area fared

Staffordshire was also towards the bottom of the table, with 5.8 per cent of pupils receiving three A*-A grades, down from 6.5 per cent last year.

Around 10.7 per cent of students achieved AAB grades (down 2.6 per cent) and the average points score in the county was up to nearly 30, a grade C.

Dudley was the top performing borough in the Black Country, with the number of students achieving top A-level grades up to 8.6 per cent, a rise of 1.6 per cent on last year.

The number of those who achieved AAB or better also increased – up to 16.6 per cent – while the average points score rose from 30.4 to 31.8, equivalent to a higher C grade.

In Wolverhampton eight per cent of pupils who sat A-levels this year received three A*-A grade, down from 8.9 per cent in 2017-18, and the number achieving AAB or better also decreased, from 14.8 per cent to 12.8 per cent.

The average point score of 28.4 was equivalent to a C grade.

Walsall saw 7.7 per cent of pupils receiving three A*-A grade, down from 8.9 per cent, with the number of students getting AAB falling to to 13.6 per cent. The average points score was 29.6, equivalent to a grade C.

Across England, 12.3 per cent of pupils achieved the top grades of A*-A – down from 12.5 per cent last year – and 20.3 per cent received at least AAB.

The average points score increased slightly since last year from 33.1 to 33.8 – both in the higher C grade.

Choice of subjects

Julie McCulloch, director of policy at the Association of School and College Leaders, said the results may be linked to changes in the number of students taking A-level subjects.

"It may also be linked to the choice of A-level subjects with an increase in the number of entries to sciences which evidence suggests are graded more severely than other subjects," she added.

"This could partly explain why there has been a slight decrease in the percentage of A*-A grades awarded."

Julian Gravatt, Association of College’s deputy chief executive, said a 5.7 per cent fall in the number of 18-year-olds taking A-levels reflected a trend that showed more people were choosing "alternative routes".

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