Swindon was among the lowest achieving areas for pupils with top A-level grades last year, Department for Education figures show.

The new data reveals that 3.5 per cent of pupils who sat their A-levels in Swindon this year received three A*-A grades – down from 3.6 per cent in 2017-18.

The percentage of those who achieved AAB or better has remained unchanged at 7.6 per cent since 2018.

Meanwhile, the average point score, which represents the average result for all students’ qualifications across all schools in the area, rose from 25.5 per cent to 26.7 per cent - equivalent to a lower C grade.

Female pupils performed better than their male counterparts overall, with an average point score of 27.7 compared to 25.1.

In England, 12.3 per cent of pupils achieved the top grades of A*to A, down from 12.5 per cent last year. And 20.3 per cent received at least AAB.

The average point score increased slightly since last year from 33.1 to 33.8 – both in the higher C grade.

A Swindon Borough Council spokesman said: “All our secondary schools and colleges are working extremely hard to improve students’ grades at A-Level, especially those top A* to A grades, which are lower than we would like.

“Despite this, our examination of the local provisional data showed that the number of entries with at least one A* to B grade increased from 38.7 per cent to 40.6 per cent, while the average point score per student was also up on the previous year.

“We will continue to provide our schools and colleges with as much support as possible using the Swindon Challenge Board and the Swindon Learning Town initiative to improve Swindon’s educational attainment.”

Julie McCulloch, director of policy at the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “This year’s statistics show a small increase in the average points score and a small decrease in the percentage of students awarded A*-A.

“This may be linked to changes in the number of students taking A-level subjects which mean that the overall prior attainment of the cohort is a little different from the previous year.

“It may also be linked to the choice of A-level subjects with an increase in the number of entries to sciences which evidence suggests are graded more severely than other subjects. This could partly explain why there has been a slight decrease in the percentage of A*-A grades awarded.”

Julian Gravatt, Association of College’s deputy chief executive, also said that, while the average point score achieved by students has increased, the number of 18 year olds taking A-levels fell by 5.7% because “more of the population are choosing alternative routes”.

“It is good that achievement is rising and that Ofqual has maintained standards at the higher grades but the subject choices available to students have reduced because of annual real term funding cuts.”