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News - 15 August 2013

A-level results 2013

fter years of steady increases there has been a fall in the proportion of A-levels awarded top grades for the second year in a row.

Just over a quarter of exam entries - 26.3% - were given A or A* grades, a slight fall on 2012's figure of 26.6%.

The national breakdown of results shows the overall pass rate rose marginally - to 98.1%. It has been rising for about 30 years.

Lavinia Newman, founder of ABDS comments:
“As expected, the results show more students are opting to do A-levels in maths and science and there is a continued fall in those taking French and German, down by 10% and 11% respectively. However, Spanish bucks that trend and has seen an increase in entries of 4%. Economics was the subject that saw the biggest rise in entries - up 7.4%. Chemistry rose by 5.2% and physics by 3.1%. Maths rose by just under 3% and further maths by 4.5%.”

A total of 7.9% of boys' entries got an A*, compared with 7.4% of those of girls. However, when As and A*s are grouped together, girls perform best - with 26.7% of their entries hitting this mark, compared with 25.9% for those of boys.

The results are published by the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ), a body that represents the exam boards.

Director of the JCQ Michael Turner said: "The continued rise in subjects such as the sciences, maths and the extended project will be welcomed. However, that so few students take a language at A-level is disappointing and although Spanish continues to show growth, the overall trend remains downwards."

Brian Lightman, the general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) said the results showed that A-levels were "stable" and that "minor fluctuations" in grades were to be expected.

He said the association had not heard any noticeable concerns from schools about the grading this year - in stark contrast to what happened over the GCSE results last year.

The university admissions body Ucas has said a record number of students have already been accepted by UK universities.  As of midnight (14/15 August 2013), 385,910 students had been accepted, 31,600 more than at the same point last year and a rise of 9%.

The results released today are for A and AS-level exams taken by pupils in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Among the nations, teenagers in Northern Ireland continue to do best - with 83.5% of entries scoring between an A* and a C and 30.7% getting an A or A*.

In Wales, the figures are 75.2% and 22.9% respectively and in England, they are 77% and 26.3%.

A Levels in numbers
• Pass rate 98.1%
• Star performers (A*)
• Boys
• 7.4%
• Girls
• 6.8%
Subject take-up
• Economics+7.4%
• Chemistry+5.2%
• French-10%
• German-11%
• But Spanish+4%

If you need any help and advice with Free Schools, Academy Schools or Charities, contact Lavinia Newman or Peter Ham now to discuss how ABDS can help bring their experience to these matters.

ABDS Chartered Certified Accountants of Southampton.
Tel: 023 8083 6900  E-mail:

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