GCSE, IGCSE, & A-level Schools by Region

Part
01
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Part
01

GCSE Examinations

While there is no preexisting information to fully complete the data requested, I used the available facts to pull together the number of schools that offer General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) examinations in the UK (excluding Scotland); the number of students who took the examinations; and the average number of qualifications earned per student.
By definition, the GCSE exam is: "An examination set especially for secondary-school pupils of 16 years of age in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland", as per the English Oxford Dictionary. After scouring trough the websites of several education establishments, online learning platforms, dictionaries, educational websites, and examination boards (such as Ofqual, Qualifications Wales, and CCEA), I was able to confirm that in fact GCSEs are only taken in the United Kingdom, as well as the fact that they are not available in Scotland, where pupils sit for "Standard Grade" exams instead.

Below you'll find an outline of my research methodology as well as a deep dive into my findings. Again, considering that the nature of the GCSE exams is to grade students in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, the information you've requested for Europe (excluding UK), Middle East, Africa, Asia, North America and South America is nonexistent therefore not included in the attached spreadsheet. Additionally, please note that every future reference to "United Kingdom" is to be understood as England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Since the GCSE examinations are not offered in Scotland, the country was excluded in all statistics and data corresponding to the United Kingdom.

Finally, the latest information I could find in the websites of education establishments; news sources; examination boards such as Ofqual, Qualifications Wales, and CCEA; and Government-issued reports concerning England, Wales, and Northern Ireland corresponds to 2016.

METHODOLOGY

I concluded that 768,353 students took GCSE examinations in the United Kingdom. The exams were offered in 5,538 schools and the average number of qualifications obtained per student was 6.8.

After extensive research through education establishments' websites; news sources; examination boards's websites, and Government-issued reports, I was not able to find publicly available data for the United Kingdom as a whole.

To get to the number of students who took the GCSE in the UK (768,353), I added the total number of students taking the exam in England (574,130), Wales (32,248), and Northern Ireland (161,975); which led me to a total of 768,353 students taking the GCSE in the UK. You'll find the sources from where I was able to get each of these numbers linked in the name of the corresponding country, below:

England = 574,130
Wales = 32,248
Northern Ireland = 161,975
Total UK students = 768,353

Secondly, to find the total number of schools offering the exam in the UK (5,538), I added the number of schools offering them in England (5,134), Wales (210), and Northern Ireland (194); which results in a total of 5,538 schools offering the exam. You'll find a link to the source for each of these quantities for the corresponding country below, as well as a more detailed explanation on how I got to the England data.

England= 5,134 *
Wales = 210
Total number of UK schools = 5,538

* To get to this number, I researched the number of schools that had students who took the GCSEs in England in 2016 through the Government's website.

Finally, to get to the average number of qualifications obtained per student, I researched the total number of qualifications taken in the UK. This was reported by the BBC to be 5,240,796. I divided this total number of qualifications by the total number of students who took the exam in the UK (768,353, as detailed by my calculations above). This resulted in a 6.8 average number of qualifications per student in 2016.

5,240,796/768,353 = 6.8.

CONCLUSION

To wrap up, an average of 6.8 GCSE qualifications were obtained by 768,353 students, who took the examinations in 5,538 schools in the UK (excluding Scotland, which has different qualifications). This information was added in the corresponding cells of the attached spreadsheet.

Since the GCSE examinations are only available in the England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, the information requested does not exist for Europe (excluding UK), Middle East, Africa, Asia, North America and South America. An international version of the GCSE (IGCSE) was introduced around 25 years ago so that students overseas could take the exam.
Part
02
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Part
02

IGCSE Examinations

INTRODUCTION

We did a thorough research of the web, and since we couldn't find the concrete data related to the specifics of your request, we had to do some triangulation. We hope that the methodology we used is clear and concise enough for you to understand every step we took in order to answer your request.

THE NUMBER OF SCHOOLS

There are 7,017 international schools worldwide offering different courses and examinations. To find the number of those offering IGSCE, we had to assume the following :
— Since there was no data on schools offering IGSCE by region, we assumed that the percentage (25%) was spread equally among schools.
— We calculated the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from the prediction of ISC, which stated that in 2024, there will be over 12,000 international schools, and by using the CAGR calculator, we found it to be 5.24%

UNITED KINGDOM

In 2016, there were 300,000 entries for IGCSE exams, with over 2,500 schools offering them.

ASIA

The number of "English-medium international schools" in Asia was 3766 or about 54% (3766/7017 * 100) of all international schools in 2014. We can use the CAGR, or 5.24 %, to calculate the number of schools at the end of 2017.
- 2015 - we get the number of schools in 2015 by multiplying the number of schools in 2014 with 5.24% : 3766 * 1.0524 = 3963
- 2016 - we do the same here, but we take the number of schools in 2015 : 3963 * 1.0524 = 4171
- 2017 - we use the number of schools from 2016 here : 4171 * 1.0524 = 4389
So, at the end of 2017, the number of international schools was 4389. Since only 25% of schools globally take IGCSEs, assuming that the percentage spreads equally among the regions listed, the number of schools in all of Asia offering IGCSEs is :
0.25 * 4389 = 1097
This number represents schools in Asia including the Middle East, so without it we get (how we got to 375 is shown below) :
1097 - 375 = 722
There were 722 international schools in Asia offering IGCSE at the end of 2017.

MIDDLE EAST

In 2017, there were over 1500 international schools in the Middle East. 43% or 645 (1500 * 0.43) of those 1500 schools follow a curriculum provided by the UK, with the IGCSE being the most popular, but since it isn't the only UK curriculum, we are going to assume that the 25% from above cover the number of schools that offer IGCSE. So :
1500 * 0.25 = 375
There were 375 international schools in the Middle East offering IGCSE at the end of 2017.

EUROPE

In 2014, there were 1497 international schools in Europe, and with the CAGR, we can calculate the number of schools at the end of 2017:
- 2015 - we get the number of schools in 2015 by multiplying the number of schools in 2014 with 5.24% : 1497 * 1.0524 = 1575
- 2016 - we do the same here, but we take the number of schools in 2015 : 1575 * 1.0524 = 1657
- 2017 - we use the number of schools from 2016 here : 1657 * 1.0524 = 1744
Since not all the schools offer IGCSE, where are going to assume that the percentage (25%) spreads equally among the regions listed:
1744 * 0.25 = 436
So, there were 436 international schools in Europe offering IGCSE at the end of 2017.

AFRICA

In 2014, there were 648 international schools in Africa. We are going to repeat the steps from above :
- 2015 - we get the number of schools in 2015 by multiplying the number of schools in 2014 with 5.24% : 648 * 1.0524 = 682
- 2016 - we do the same here, but we take the number of schools in 2015 : 682 * 1.0524 = 717
- 2017 - we use the number of schools from 2016 here : 717 * 1.0524 = 755
Again, we use 25% to separate them from the schools offering other curricula:
755 * 0.25 = 189
There were 189 international schools in Africa offering IGCSE at the end of 2017.

NORTH AND SOUTH AMERICA

In 2014, there were 836 international schools in North and South America. If we repeat the steps and logic mentioned above, we can calculate the number of schools at the end of 2017 :
- 2015 - we get the number of schools in 2015 by multiplying the number of schools in 2014 with 5.24% : 836 * 1.0524 = 880
- 2016 - we do the same here, but we take the number of schools in 2015 : 880 * 1.0524 = 926
- 2017 - we use the number of schools from 2016 here : 926 * 1.0524 = 974
So, there were 974 international schools at the end of 2017 in Americas.

NORTH AMERICA

We used the Cambridge's website to find the number of schools offering IGCSE exams, so we are going to assume that the other examination boards are negligible. It states that there are about 300 schools in the US, and only 1 in Canada, so the total number of international schools in North America is 301. Since not all the schools offer IGCSE, we are going to use 25% here again to get closer to the real number :
301 * 0.25 = 75
There were 75 international schools in North America offering IGCSE at the end of 2017.

SOUTH AMERICA

Since there are 974 international schools in both Americas, and 301 of those are in North America :
974 - 301 = 673
There are 673 schools in South America. Again, not all of them offer IGCSEs, so :
673 * 0.25 = 168
168 schools were offering IGCSE at the end of 2017 in South America.

NUMBER OF STUDENTS

There are over 4,000,000 students enrolled in different English-medium courses worldwide. We are going to assume that the number of students is proportionate to the number of international schools. Using the same percentage that we used to calculate the number of schools offering IGCSE, we get the number of students taking the IGCSE exam :
4,000,000 * 0.25 = 1,000,000
The total number of schools excluding the UK is :
436 + 375 + 189 + 722 + 75 + 168 = 1965
Since we assumed that the number of schools is proportionate to the number of students, we are going to calculate the number of students by region :
— UK — 300,000
So without the UK there are : 1,000,000 - 300,000 = 700,000
— Europe without UK — 436 out of 1965 is : 436/1965 = 0.22 or 22% of schools. There are : 0.22 * 700,000 = 154,000 students attending those schools. We are going to repeat these steps below.
— Middle East — 375 out of 1965 is 19%.
0.19 * 700,000 = 133,000
— Africa — 189 out of 1965 is 9.6 %.
0.097 * 700,000 = 67.900
— Asia — 722 out of 1965 is 36.7 %.
0.367 * 700,000 = 252,000
— North America — 75 out of 1965 is 3.8%
0.038 * 700,000 = 26,600
— South America — 168 out of 1965 is 8.5%
0.085 * 700,000 = 59,500

AVERAGE QUALIFICATIONS

No data could be found on the average number of qualifications by student, much less by region, but we found that there are core qualifications across all regions, which are : English Language, English Literature, Physics and Chemistry. Along with those listed, there are 5 more blocks of optional subjects, from which students choose one additional subject from each block. So every student takes from 9 to 10 subjects. Although this study includes GCSE, we can see that the estimation is correct, with 9.6 being the average number of subjects a student has. The IGCSE offers over 40 subjects to choose from.

CONCLUSION

We hope that we have successfully answered your request.
Sources
Sources