The proportion of pupils getting top grades at A-level in England has risen for the first time since 2010.
In England, 26.2 per cent of pupils achieved an A* or A grade, up from 25.8 per cent last year.
It takes the proportion of pupils getting A* and A grades to its highest level since 2013, and brings to an end a six-year decline in top grades.
For the first time since 2001, the results reflect exams sat at the end of pupils’ two-year A-level courses rather than throughout their course.
School leaders were concerned that this may be more difficult for pupils, but the results suggest that those at the top end have not struggled.
The last increase came seven years ago, in 2010, when top grades rose to 0.3 percentage points, to 26.8 per cent from 26.5 per cent.
The proportion of pupils getting A*s rose this year, from 8.1 per cent last year to 8.3 per cent this year.
Michael Turner, the president of JCQ, the body representing exam boards, said the results showed the efforts of “hundreds of thousands of students”.
The number of pupils entered for A-levels fell to 769,233 this year, down from 763,987, continuing a trend caused by a decline in the number of 18-year-olds.
Top A-level grades over the years
% of A* and A grade A-levels in England, 2009 to 2017
2009: 26.5 per cent
2010: 26.8 per cent
2011: 26.8 per cent
2012: 26.5 per cent
2013: 26.3 per cent
2014: 26.1 per cent
2015: 25.9 per cent
2016: 25.8 per cent
2017: 26.2 per cent
*All figures relate to England only