Exams including information and communications technology need to be toughened up in order to produce a workforce that can better service the needs of businesses, according to TIGA, the trade association representing the UK games industry.

Following the first ever fall in the number of GCSEs being awarded top grades this week, TIGA says it supports the Department of Education’s intention to make exams harder and place a greater emphasis on raising standards of achievement – particularly in the sciences, maths and English.

According to TIGA, one of the major changes should be to provide young people with more opportunities to develop new ICT skills for emerging digital markets. For example, schools should not only teach children how to use apps but also focus on how they can create their own. TIGA added that English, mathematics, physics and computer science were also important for a career in the games industry.

Jacqueline Cawston from Coventry University’s Serious Games Institute said: “We’re seeing a rapidly growing appreciation for the importance of the games industry to education, as well as to the UK economy – as demonstrated by the government’s recent tax break policy for games development. It’s essential for the growth of the sector that our young people learn the skills in science and technology at school that will enable them to write code and develop the games and apps of the future.”

Dr Christos Gatzidis, Senior Lecturer In Creative Technology, Creative Technology Framework Leader, at Bournemouth University, said: "For the BSc in Games Technology at Bournemouth University the current requirement is a minimum of 4 GCSEs (or equivalent) at grades A* to C, including English and Maths. GCSEs in subjects such as maths and physics for example are key in terms of forming an adequate preparation for what is predominantly a programming course (as the Games Technology one at BU is). Good grades in those bodes well for succeeding later on in higher education, not to mention subsequently in a career in games development. Furthermore, it would also be welcome for prospective students in the future to have studied a proper Computer Science GCSE , as this could also, depending on the curriculum it has (it is currently set to a September 2013 teaching start), make a real difference, particularly in combination with the subjects mentioned above."

Thursday's statistics show a decrease in the proportion of GCSEs awarded at least a C grade in the core subjects of English, maths and science. The fall is particularly pronounced in English. In English literature, 76.3% of exams were awarded A*-C, compared with 78.4% last year, and 23.2% earned at least an A, down from 25% in 2011. In English language and combined English literature and language exams, results went down from 65.5% getting A*-C to 64.2%.

In science, which has been made harder, there has been a 2.2 percentage point drop in the proportion of entries awarded an A* to C. 60.7% are achieving these grades.

There has also been a fall in A* to C results in maths, with 58.4% of entries getting at least a C grade, down from 58.8% in 2011.

Changes are being made to GCSEs in England to make them more rigorous from September 2012. Marks will be allocated for spelling and grammar and all exams will be taken at the end of the two-year courses rather than in modules along the way as is currently the case.