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GCSE results: Southwark students buck national trend

25 August 2023

This year’s GCSE results appear to be positive for students in Southwark schools with provisional figures showing substantial improvement in exam performance across all measures compared to 2019.

According to Ofqual (the regulator of qualifications, exams and assessments in England) this year’s national results would be lower than last summer. This is due to a return to pre-pandemic standards of marking. But despite this, the whole suite of Southwark’s GCSE measures are up from 2019 – the year before the pandemic when exam conditions were similar – particularly for students achieving a strong pass compared to a standard pass.

This week’s provisional results showed that 77.3 per cent of Southwark students achieved a standard pass (up 11 percentage points from 66.3 per cent in 2019) and 61.0 per cent achieved a strong pass (up 15.5 percentage points from 2019) in both English and mathematics.

Early indications suggest results for the English Baccalaureate have also improved: 44.9 per cent of pupils achieved a standard pass (up 7.3 percentage points from 37.6 per cent in 2019) and 34.8 per cent of pupils achieved a strong pass (up 10.5 percentage points from 24.3 per cent in 2019)

While there’s been a national decline in results compared to last year, there is lots to celebrate in Southwark when comparing 2022 to 2023:

  • Attainment 8, the measure of achievement across eight qualifications including English and maths, has gone up by 1.2 points for all schools from 53.6 points in 2022 to 54.8 points this year
  • 34.8 per cent of pupils achieved a strong pass in the English Baccalaureate (up 0.4 percentage points from 34.4 per cent in 2022)
  • 61.0 per cent of pupils achieved a strong pass in English and maths (up 2.0 percentage points from 59 per cent in 2022)

Cllr Jasmine Ali, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Education, said: “Huge congratulations to Southwark’s GCSE students! You have all done so well as we return to pre-pandemic grading this year. You have bucked the national trend with improvements across the board, making everyone in Southwark very proud. It’s a true reflection of your hard work and that of Southwark’s fantastic schools.

“Following the great news last week on the A-level results of the children and young people in our care, it looks like their GCSE results this year will exceed the 2019 outcomes. We are delighted to report that we have a number of our children in our care who’ve achieved standard 4-6 and higher grade GCSE passes 7-9. Some of our children who experienced a lot of instability and ended up sitting exams in independent exam centres this year managed to get some excellent results. Some really amazing stories illustrating our young people’s abilities to overcome adversity and achieve in the aspirational environment that we all strive for. We at Southwark Council couldn’t be prouder.”

Cllr Ali added: “Whatever you have planned next, we are here to help you achieve your goals. We can link you with local opportunities to support you into further education, training or work. Your GSCE results are just one piece of the jigsaw puzzle to success, with lots of options to help get you to where you want to be.”

Visit to access all the support, youth services, and things for young people to do in Southwark.

Young people who are thinking about their next steps in education, training or work can also join Southwark Council’s mailing list to receive news on job vacancies and career information in and around Southwark. Visit for more information.

Page last updated: 25 August 2023

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