Joined: 27 September 2006
Exam results show an improvement on last year
This was a 0.7 percentage point increase on last year's results.
Girls still outperformed boys by a wide margin - and regional variations ranged between 26% and 65% reaching this benchmark of basic skills.
Schools Minister Jim Knight hailed the improving results as evidence that the "doom-mongers" were wrong.
"Whatever the carping from the usual doom-mongers, 470,000 more young people since 1997 have got a better start in life," said Mr Knight.
The figures showed a continued gradual improvement in the results of those taking their exams this summer - across a wide range of measurements.
The requirement to include English and maths in the benchmark of five good GCSEs was introduced by the government to make sure that teenagers were leaving school with the basic skills.
In 1995-1996, the number achieving this threshold was 35.2% - with an 11.3% percentage point increase since then.
Among the higher achievers, girls continue to do better than boys, with 66% of girls achieving five or more good GCSEs compared to 57.1%.
There were also wide differences in the level of achievement between local authorities - which combined with the gender gap - can show stark divisions.
Three quarters of boys in the London Borough of Greenwich did not get five GCSEs including English and maths - while in Sutton, more than two-thirds of girls reached this standard.
The biggest improvement was shown in Halton, Wakefield and Nottingham.
There are also early indications of the progress in academies - with 20 of these independent state schools now having results for the past two years.
From a low starting point, often in the most deprived areas, there has been 3.6 percentage point increase in pupils getting five good GCSEs including English and maths.
These figures, released by the Department for Children, Schools and Families, are the first provisional statistics for exams taken in the summer of 2007.
The results apply to pupils who have reached the end of this phase of secondary education - Key Stage 4 - rather than any particular age group.In response to the results, shadow schools minister Nick Gibb said: "After this week's Ofsted report showing that half of our secondary schools are not good enough, this is yet more evidence that the government is failing to deliver the quality of education that parents demand and children need."
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