GCSE Examinations Results Review 22nd August 2019

Published 22nd August 2019

We start by congratulating all students collecting GCSE grades in design and technology today, these congratulations are extended to all their teachers who have worked in challenging circumstances to get their students successfully to this point.

These grades are the first to emerge from the revised GCSE specifications introduced in 2017. It is impossible to draw direct comparisons with predecessor qualifications as the content and very nature of the award has changed significantly in this time. This qualification has increased syllabus content and sets very different demands on students who are asked to solve complex ‘real-world’ problems for an identified user or user group.

The stand out statistic that will most probably receive the greatest press attention is the 23% drop in entries for design and technology awards on an already greatly reduced entry from last year. (117,605 last year to 90,805 this year). This drop is highly regrettable but not surprising. It arises not as a result of one particular circumstance or challenge, but as a consequence of a complex combination of circumstances recently described by Amanda Spielman as “a perfect storm”.

This “storm” is, we believe, one that challenges the very future of the subject that we teach and hold dear, and is one that we have to face ‘head-on’ if future generations are to understand the importance of a design education and how the application of skills gained across the curriculum can be used in order to solve complex problems and ultimately to make the world a better place.

However, it is worth highlighting the slight increase in students achieving level 7 in 2019 (19.4%) against A grades in 2018 (17.9%), with this trend continuing for the lower grades also.  This is in line with JCQ’s previous assurances.

We will write more on the issues surrounding the subject in coming months and we are working hard on producing a set of solutions to further support design and technology teachers while at the same time lobbying politicians, industry leaders and other key decision makers to create a significant supportive body working for the subject.

Today is not the time for deep analysis (that must and will come later) but is about celebrating the results achieved by students and their teachers across the country. Students should rest assured that in design and technology, they have a qualification that is highly valued by business and industry leaders who increasingly seek creativity and complex problem-solving skills alongside core knowledge gained both from within the subject and across a core curriculum.

Congratulations, enjoy the moment and we wish you  nothing but the very best as you move to the next stage of your development and education!


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