Using data effectively

Analysis of national and local data can help organisations plan, prepare and monitor their GCSE maths and English provision. Key issues are highlighted below; click on the links for more information, ideas and reflective questions.

Comparing GCSE entry and success rates

  • In order to meet funding requirements, there has been a large increase in 16-18 GCSE entries since 2012 – much more so for English than for maths.  Over the same period, however, success rates have dropped significantly.
  • In the summer of 2016, the A*-C success rate for all 16+ GCSE students (including fig1-entries-achievementadults) was only 27% for English and 30% for maths – the figures for 16-18s in isolation are likely to be significantly lower.
  • Despite the sharpe increase in entries, the overall number of 16+ students achieving GCSE A*-Cs rose only modestly for maths last year – and hardly at all for English.

Using PLR data

  • Use of data from the Personal Learning Record (PLR) database is vital in predicting GCSE cohort sizes for curriculum modeling – and hence projecting the GCSE staffing requirements.

Looking to the Future

  • The delivery of the new GCSE ‘9-1’ qualifications will become mandatory from September 2017.  These new qualifications are broader and more challenging, and only allow two resit opportunities per year.
  • Functional Skills qualifications are being reformed, with new qualifications due to be available in 2018.
  • The government are currently looking at the feasibility of extending the requirement to study maths to all 16-18 learners – including those with a GCSE A*-C.

Below you can listen to part of an interview with Jan Myatt, Head of English and Maths at Walsall College, where she explains how they have used data to plan their GCSE maths and English programmes


You can learn more about Walsall College’s approach to GCSE maths and English development and other organisations’ in the case studies on this website.