The South-East of England has shown the greatest fall in candidates getting A or A* in GCSEs this year, down 0.5 percentage on 2014.
And the area has also seen a 0.1% drop in students gaining A*-C grades, the joint biggest drop with the East Midlands.
Across the UK there were 5,277,604 entrants for the exams, up 1% on 2014’s total.
Overall, candidates receiving a C grade or above has risen for the second year in a row. The number of entrants scoring between A* and C was 69%, up from 68.8% in 2014.
The overall pass rate rose slightly. The number of candidates receiving A*-G was 98.6%, up 0.1 percentage points on last year. The rise follows two years of small declines, from the peak of 99% in 2012.
A total of 6.6% of entrants received an A*, down 0.1 points on last year. This continues a downward trend since a peak of 7.8% in 2011.
There was a similar fall in candidates receiving grades A*-A, falling 0.1 points to 21.2%.
Just under two-thirds of English candidates received grade C or above (65.4%), a jump of 3.7 percentage points on 2014.
Maths showed a smaller increase, with 63.3% of candidates getting grade C or above - a rise of 0.9 points.
Computing saw the biggest jump in entrants, rising by 111% on last year.
Humanities saw the biggest fall in candidates, dropping by 22%.
Languages (French, German and Spanish) saw a combined fall in entrants of 5.7%. German saw the biggest drop of the three, down 9.8%. Candidates for French fell by 6.2%, while Spanish was down 2.4%.
The gap between boys and girls receiving grade C and above has narrowed, from 8.8 percentage points in 2014 to 8.4 in 2015.
This is because the number of boys getting C and above has risen from 64.3% to 64.7%. The figure for girls is unchanged at 73.1%.
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