A NEW grading system is set to make GCSE results day more confusing than ever.

New grades for English language, English literature and maths will be awarded for the first time on Thursday.

Grades 9-1 - grade 9 is the highest - will be given instead of the A*-G system we have become accustomed to.

But the old grades will be given in all other subjects with the 9-1 system being phased in over a total of three years.

The new system will make it more difficult to compare results.

Until this year schools have been ranked on the number of pupils gaining at least five A*-C grades, including English and maths.

This year there is confusion about the new equivalent of a C grade with Education Secretary Justine Greening saying a grade four will be seen as a "standard pass" and a grade five as a "strong pass."

She also said that for school performance tables, the government will publish "standard passes" (grade four and above) but also the "strong passes" (at grade five and above).

For most other subjects - including biology, chemistry, physics, computer science, French, Spanish, religious education, geography, music and history - the new grades will be awarded from the summer of 2018.

A third wave of 9-1 graded GCSEs - including psychology, ancient history, business, information and communications technology (ICT) and media studies - will be taught from September 2017 with exams in 2019.

Exam regulator Ofqual said that in 2016, in English and in maths, about 70 per cent of 16-year-old students achieved a grade C or above and so it would expect a similar percentage to achieve a four and above in this summer's exams.

The new GCSEs have much less coursework than before with grades in almost all subjects depending on exams.

Courses are designed to be more rigorous with exams taken after two years of study, rather than in modules with exams along the way.