Almost one in four GCSE papers were awarded A or A* in results published today, up from last year.
However there are growing concerns over the disparity between girls and boys performance.
The number of boys achieving top grades was 19.8%, compared to 26.5% of girls. Last year the gap was six per cent, but this year it is up to 6.7%.
In an improvement on last year though 69.8% of all entries were awarded at least a C, which is the 23rd straight increase on the total.
Trends for different GCSE subjects were also released today, showing a rise in the number taking individual sciences, but a fall in history, geography and modern foreign languages.