There were 444,302 pupils at the end of key stage 4 who achieved five or more GCSEs (or equivalent) at A*-C in 2009. A number of these pupils achieved less than 5 GCSE passes (full, double awards and short courses) and reached the threshold by including non-GCSE qualifications (referred to as equivalents) in their attainment. Of the pupils including non-GCSE qualifications to reach the threshold:
22,605 achieved four or 4.5 GCSE qualifications and therefore at least include non-GCSE qualifications up to the size of one full GCSE.
17,791 achieved between three and four GCSE qualifications and therefore include non-GCSE qualifications at least equivalent to between one and two full GCSEs.
39,367 achieved less than three GCSE qualifications and therefore include non-GCSE qualifications equivalent to more than two GCSEs.