An elite new GCSE grade for the most outstanding students will be awarded only to the top one in five candidates who currently get A and A*, the exams watchdog Ofqual has announced.

The number of pupils awarded the top grade at GCSE is to be slashed under plans to toughen up the exam system from 2017.

The reforms form part of a major overhaul of GCSE grading which will see the old A*-G system replaced with a new 1 to 9 scale, with 9 being the top grade.

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