Only one out of every 25 pupils in schools for those with behavioural difficulties or exclusions managed to gain passes in English and maths GCSEs this year, according to national data which also shows little headway being made in improving overall exam results.

Just 4% of those in England attending pupil referral units or similar alternative provision achieved grade 4s or higher in maths and English, while just 1.5% managed at least 5s in both subjects, the government’s favoured “strong pass” grade, with both figures being worse than the previous year’s results.

The national proportion of pupils in mainstream state schools achieving strong passes in compulsory GCSE maths and English fell slightly to below 44%. Despite a slight improvement in the number gaining 4s in the two subjects – equivalent to a grade C under the previous measure – more than one in three pupils were still unable to do so.

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