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GCE Results 2017


Today thousands of young people across England, Wales and Northern Ireland receive their A-level and AS-level results. The Society wishes to thank the teachers and educators, and families of those young people who have taught and supported them along this journey. The engagement with art, craft and design at this level will be unique and valuable, all these young people will have benefited greatly from your commitment and expertise.

Every year the Society scrutinises the provisional results published by JCQ, and this year has identified the following trends:

Summer 2017 GCE exam entries for AS-level art and design subjects have declined and that the fall in numbers is far greater than the overall decline in all subjects combined. A-level art and design has remained broadly stable.

AS level: Between 2016 to 2017 entries for all AS-level subjects combined have fallen by 39.1%. The fall for art and design is significantly bigger with actual numbers decreasing from 41,545 in 2016 to 22,324 this year. This represents a 46% decrease and is 3.1% of the total numbers AS-levels sat compared to 3.5% in 2016.

A level: Overall entries for all A-level art and design subjects remained broadly stable, showing an increase of 0.94% from 43,242 in 2016 to 43,653 in 2017 (up by 411). This represents a 0.1% increase in the total number of art and design A-levels sat (5.3%).

Attainment: A* grades remain stable with a very slight increase for A-level art and design from 12.2% achieving A* in 2016 to 12.3% in 2017. For AS level there has also been a slight increase in A grades awarded, increasing from 21.5% to 22.1%.

Gender: The gender gap in terms of percentage ratios taking GCE art and design shows a very modest improvement this year.

In 2016 34.8% were male AS-level candidates and 65.2% female. This year the percentages slightly improved by 0.7 per cent to 35.5% male and 64.5% females candidates.
For A level in 2016 31.3% were male candidates and 68.7% female. The percentage (1.2%) slightly improved with 32.5% male candidates and 67.5% female.

However, the ratio of boys to girls taking GCE art and design remains approximately 2:1. It is a gap which needs considerable focus for schools, awarding bodies and the subject.



This year we are noting changes in the A-level qualifications, to include art and design, in England. AS-level results no longer count towards A-level grades. New syllabuses have been phased in across schools in England since September 2015 and were initiated by the former Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove with the stated intention of making the qualifications more ‘fit for purpose.’

In England, AS-level is now decoupled from the A-level which makes it a standalone qualification, the results do not count towards an A-level grade. In Wales and Northern Ireland AS-level does still count toward an overall A-level mark.

Many students gaining A-level qualifications will be looking to move into Higher Education. UCAS is an independent charity providing information, advice and admissions services to facilitate educational progression. UCAS published in March this year an analysis of full time undergraduate applications made by the March deadline to include some HE courses for art and design.

The current figures show a drop in applications from UK undergraduates since 2016 by 5% in England, 4% in Northern Ireland, 6% in Wales and 1% in Scotland. UCAS have further revealed that applications to the Creative Arts and Design group, covering design, fine art, craft music, drama, dance, photography and creative writing have dropped by 14,000 students, a drop of 5% since 2016.

The Society will continue to scrutinise, consider and monitor the implications of the AS and A-level results.

For more information visit the JCQ website.

Ofqual have published a number of documents in relation to AS and A level results which can be viewed here.

17 Aug 2017