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Pupils set to receive GCSE results

Teenagers across the UK will receive their GCSE grades on Tuesday in what is expected to be another record year for results.

The grades will help students decide their next step, be it to stay in school to take A-levels, or a vocational qualification, or to leave education for the world of work.

Experts predicted that almost seven in 10 papers could be awarded at least a C grade.

Some 7.1% of entries alone gained a coveted A* grade last summer - a proportion that more than doubled since the grade was first awarded in 1994. This year the A*-C pass rate is expected to rise for the 23rd year in a row.

More than two thirds (67.1%) of entries were awarded at least a C grade last summer, while more than a fifth (21.6%) received an A or A*.

But the rising pass rate led to fresh concerns being raised recently about whether the system is fit for purpose.

John Bangs, head of education at the National Union of Teachers (NUT), said GCSEs were the best qualifications on offer at the moment, although they could be better. "I think the commitment to review qualifications in 2013 is something that should be maintained," he said.

There are concerns that the introduction of other qualifications, such as international GCSEs could lead to a "two-tier system", he added.

More than 750,000 youngsters in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will receive results.

The results are usually published on a Thursday, but were moved this year to cater for schools in Northern Ireland which start back earlier.

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