A headteacher in Bucks said wider trends in GCSE results should not overshadow the achievements of this year's students.

Caroline Legg, headteacher at The Beaconsfield School said she did not believe yearly comparisons of GCSE results were helpful, as they redirected focus away from the 'hard-won success' of individual students. 

She said: "A lot has been made of the return to pre-pandemic standards in the media, but I don't think year-on-year comparisons are particularly useful.

"At the heart of this is a group of students who deserve their hard-won success."

GCSE students at The Beaconsfield School were among many in Buckinghamshire who celebrated an extremely positive results day on Thursday, with some recording improvements on both 2019 and 2022 grading levels.

Ms Legg said she was "really pleased" with the overall results day outcome, adding: "It is a testament to our hardworking students and staff, and I'd also like to acknowledge and say thank you to all of the parents, whom I am sure were extremely nervous about today too."

READ MORE: Recap - Bucks students celebrate 'incredible' GCSE results

Her concern about national trends overshadowing the individual accomplishments of this year's GCSE cohort may be justified by the extent of coverage that national drops in grade levels have received - perhaps an inevitable consequence of the first year pre-pandemic marking has been reinstated since 2019. 

This is despite the protection built into the marking process by exam regulators Ofqual to ensure that a pupil would still receive the grade they would have before the pandemic, even if this year's work was marginally weaker.

There has also been controversy surrounding the measures taken in different parts of the UK, with many students in Wales and Northern Ireland receiving advance information about which topics to expect in their exam papers - support that was not provided for GCSE pupils in England.

English students were, however, given formulae and equation sheets in GCSE Maths, Physics and Combined Science exams in acknowledgement of the pandemic disruption to learning. 

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan said: “This cohort have shown tremendous resilience in recent years and should be proud of all the work they’ve done to reach this milestone.

“Grading is returning to normal, which means a pupil who would have achieved a grade 4 before the pandemic is just as likely to achieve that this year.

“I wish everyone the very best as they move on to their next chapter.”