I want to congratulate all those who received their GCSE results yesterday, which are the culmination of two years or more of hard work and study, and to thank their teachers, whose dedication and hard work has helped them achieve their success.

I can still remember receiving my GCSE results. I was on holiday in Torquay so had to phone up my school to receive them using one of the old fashioned pay phones.

I was extremely nervous which was made even worse by the fact that I was running out of 10p pieces for the phone box, causing concern that they wouldn’t be able to find my results before my money ran out!

As we saw with last week’s new A-levels, we are beginning to see the fruits of our education reforms translating into higher standards.

This will improve opportunities and life chances for millions of young people, helping them to fulfil the demand for knowledgeable and skilled young people from Britain’s dynamic and growing economy.

Every child should receive an excellent education which allows them to achieve their full potential. The reforms of the past seven years and the hard work of teachers have led to 1.8 million more children being taught in ‘good’ and ‘outstanding’ schools.

I welcome that 89 per cent of schools in England are rated good or outstanding which is the highest proportion ever recorded.

Standards are also improving as a result of changes to the exams system.

As we saw yesterday, more GCSE students are studying key subjects such as languages and sciences - which are most valued by employers - following the introduction of the EBacc.

It is right that all young people have access to these rigorous subjects, regardless of where they live.

In 2010, fewer than a quarter of pupils (21.8 per cent) in state-funded schools took the challenging EBacc (English, maths, the sciences, a language and either geography or history). I am encouraged that this has now risen to over 40 per cent.

Furthermore entries at A-level to the core subjects, particularly STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and maths) have also increased, with more 17 and 18 year-olds studying key subjects year on year since 2010, with mathematics continuing to be the most popular A-evel subject.

Of course every student is different and therefore it is right that a wide choice is available for study at sixth form and college. But it is crucial that we ensure a good grasp of core subjects at GCSE for every pupil.

Sally Collier, chief regulator at England’s exams watchdog, has said that the new qualifications have allowed students to better demonstrate their abilities which is ensuring that they are better prepared for further study, if that is their choice.

And as we saw last week, there are more youngsters attending university than ever before. Of course if further study isn’t a desirable option, then we are also creating three million new apprenticeships so that people can choose to earn whilst they learn instead of going to university.

Therefore by ensuring that every child studies the core subjects at GCSE and providing more choice when it comes to leaving school, we are making sure that every child is given the opportunity to succeed in life and do what they enjoy.