GCSE results in Southampton have fallen to their lowest level in at least five years according to a national performance indicator.

The measure, called Attainment 8, uses a formula to find the ‘average’ grades achieved by secondary schools in the eight main subjects.

It is released yearly and can be compared to the national average – something that Southampton has consistently lagged behind.

This year, Southampton’s Attainment 8 level has fallen by 3.1 per cent to 43 per cent. Figures for this year’s national average are yet to be released.

According to a report by Southampton City Council, the fallen figure isn’t as bad as it seems.

Attainment 8 levels were unusually high both in Southampton and nationally during the pandemic due to measures that were put in place to help students.

A report said: “2023 is the second time since 2019 that Key Stage 4 (GCSE) grades are being based on exams and assessments after two years of alternative arrangements in response to coronavirus.

“Unlike last year, students have not been given advanced information about topics they are likely to be tested on.

“Grades are expected to fall back in line with results in 2019, with England’s exam regulator calling 2023 results a ‘step back to normal’.”

The Attainment 8 figure in 2019 was 44.1 per cent, close to this year’s figure – and 2018’s figure was 43.3 per cent.

There are other changes still in place in the wake of the pandemic, however – which on paper should have helped to raise the Attainment 8 figure.

The report added: “Some of the adjusted measures from last year remain in place.

“Exams were spaced out more than they were prior to the pandemic, allowing for rest and revision. In addition, some subjects provided formulae and equations, and students will not be expected to confront unfamiliar words in language exams.”

English and Maths GCSE pass rates have also fallen this year in Southampton.

Those achieving a 9-5 in the two subjects has fallen from 42 per cent last year to 39 per cent and those achieving a 9-4 fell by the same percentage from 62 per cent last year to 59 per cent this year.

The national average for English and Maths in 2022 was 50 per cent.

This year’s figure is yet to be released.