EDUCATION and Skills Minister Huw Lewis has congratulated students across Wales who are picking up their GCSE and Welsh Baccalaureate results today.

GCSE results for students in Wales show:

• the overall pass rate is 98.5%

• the proportion of passes at grades A* to C is 66.6%;

• the proportion of A* and A grades is 19.4%;

• the proportion of A* grades is 6.2%

The Minister said: “I’d like to offer my congratulations to all students in Wales who are collecting their GCSE results today.

“The overall A*-C pass rate of 66.6% make these results the highest that have ever been achieved in Wales. These results signal a historic high point where two thirds of our overall entries have attained A*-C.

“Many learners are picking up good grades in their GCSEs which they’ve earned and thoroughly deserve. These grades, together with rounded education and the skills they developed through the Welsh Baccalaureate, will open many doors for our learners allowing them to continue in learning, be that vocational or academic, or enter the world of work.

“Across all subjects in Wales the data shows improved performance at A*, A, B and C which is very encouraging.

“Amongst other positive results it is encouraging to see that compared to last year’s results there were improvements at A*-C grades particularly in the science subjects, all of which had improved pass rates, English Literature and Welsh First Language.

“English Language outcomes are especially pleasing following the January unit outcomes. I said in March, when those outcomes were published, that it was important to see what the full qualification outcomes would bring.

“Today’s qualification results show that, for GCSE English Language, learners in Wales, with the support of their teachers, have achieved comparable outcomes to those in summer 2013. Indeed for the stable cohort of learners – that is candidates aged 16, A*-C outcomes at 62.6% are higher, by 0.6 percentage points than they were in summer 2013.

“We are looking carefully at the headline outcomes for Mathematics as changes in entry patterns have had a negative impact on summer outcomes. If we compare outcomes for 16 year-old candidates this summer with those from last summer it reveals that the results A*-C were only down by 0.2 percentage points for this group, which is the stable group for whom comparisons are realistic. We will have a better picture of overall performance when the full set of performance data is available in the autumn.

“We are striving to improve and already have measures in place to raise our game in Mathematics, such as the Literacy and Numeracy Framework which will improve performance in years to come. We are also introducing new Maths GCSEs from September 2015 and their implementation will be supported by regional consortia, funded by Welsh Government, as well as by WJEC.

“The highest standards of literacy and numeracy are essential for ensuring progress and achievement in education; for the economic health of the nation; and for supporting the general well-being of the population as a whole as well as individuals.”

Welsh Baccalaureate, Intermediate and Foundation Diploma results have also been published today. They show:

At Intermediate level:

• 13,748 learners completed the Welsh Baccalaureate programme;

• 12,597 achieved the Core certificate; and

• 11,784 achieved both the Core certificate and the Options requirements and have been awarded the full Welsh Baccalaureate Intermediate Diploma.

And at Foundation level:

• Over 2,109 learners completed the Welsh Baccalaureate programme;

• 1,827 achieved the Core certificate; and

• 1,757 achieved both the Core certificate and the Options requirement and have been awarded the full Welsh Baccalaureate Foundation Diploma.

The Minister added: “Many congratulations to those picking up their Welsh Baccalaureate results today. They’ve earned a qualification which will enhance their skillset for the future. They should be very proud of what they’ve achieved.”