This year's GCSE results were published on Thursday 25th August, but they showed the biggest ever year-on-year decline and were at the lowest level since 2008.
However, this can be attributed in part to the increased number of students resitting English and maths. 17-year-olds who didn't achieve a minimum C grade last year sat their exams again this summer, which schools minister Nick Gibb says has given them "better prospects" for the future.
"For those 17-year-olds who have struggled to achieve good grades in maths, we are seeing 4,000 more successful re-takes of those exams; delivering better prospects for every one of those young people," he stated.
Results in Northern Ireland actually improved this year, while those in Wales remained stable. This means that the decline has been driven by results in England, where the proportion of A* to C grades fell from 68.8 per cent last year to 66.6 per cent, and top A* grades were down from 6.6 per cent to 6.4 per cent.
In addition to this, the gender gap has widened, with 71.3 per cent of girls achieving grade C or above compared with 62.4 per cent of boys.
From next year however, the grading system will change from the current letter-based system to numbers, from nine down to one. School assessments are also set to change, so that pupil progress can be measured in secondary schools, rather than the results themselves.