GCSE students collecting their results next Thursday will see their Maths and English graded from 9-1, rather than the previous A*-G.

This is the first year that pupils will be graded from 9-1 in English and Maths at GCSE level, by 2020, all GCSE subjects will be graded in this way.

The government said the revised GCSE grading system has been put in place in order to ensure that pupils leave school better prepared for work or further study in the 21st century.

The government announced the education and curriculum reform in 2013, and teaching of the reformed GCSEs began in September 2015, with the first results released next week.

Teaching for most other GCSE subjects began from either September 2016, or will begin this coming September, with the first examinations and results in 2018 and 2019. By 2020, GCSE examination certificates will contain only number grades.

School standards minister, Nick Gibb, said: “This summer pupils have taken exams in the new and reformed GCSEs in English and Maths. This is the culmination of a six year process of curriculum and qualifications reform, which has involved wide consultation with teachers, schools and universities.”

He continued: “The new GCSEs are more rigorous so that young people can gain the knowledge and understanding they need to succeed in the future and compete in an increasingly global workplace.”

The new numerical system will be able to better differentiate between the highest performing pupils and will distinguish clearly between the new and the old style exams. The changes apply to GCSEs regulated in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will also make changes to their GCSE grading systems, but will not be introducing a 9-1 numerical scale.