A parent’s guide to GCSE results and GCSE results day

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  • GCSE results are a nerve-wracking time for your teen, and as parents it's been so blooming long since you did exams that you find it hard to make head or tail of the results, what they mean and what the options are afterwards.

    Here, we explain in simple terms exactly what will happen when the GCSE results are released, what your teen’s options are next and what to do if they haven’t achieved the grades needed to take them to AS and A levels or get into college.

    GCSE results for 2019 are released on Thursday 22nd August

    There might be some disappointed teens out there but there’s no need for them to feel down. There are many routes to success and getting glittering results isn’t the only way.

    Our guide explains how you can understand your teen’s results and what their options are if they don’t get what they want.

    Understanding the new 9-1 GCSE grades

    • The qualifications taken by school students aged 14 – 16 in the UK (excluding Scotland)
    • Getting low GCSE results could make it difficult for your teen to get into college or sixth form
    • Although they are graded from A*-G, most colleges and employers treat grades A*-C as passes, a U is a fail.
    • In 2017 a new 9 to 1 scoring system was introduced for the subjects English Literature, English Language and Maths, with 9 at the higher end and 1 at the lowest. Northern Ireland and Wales will not be affected by the change and Ofqual has assured parents that children will not be disadvantaged by the change.
    GCSE results

    Credit: Getty

    GCSE results day

    On GCSE results day, your teen will be able to collect their results from their school. Your school or teachers should inform students in advance from what time results will be available, and as results day happens in the school holidays, don’t forget to find out what time the school will close, so you don’t miss out.

    If your child can’t make results day, they can nominate someone to collect them on their behalf. Your teen will need to provide them with a signed letter of consent, naming the person they’ve elected. They’ll also need to take along suitable ID. Most schools won’t tell you your results over the phone, by email or fax. If you’re worried about collecting results, contact your school and find out your options.

    What they’ll receive

    Your child will receive their GCSE results on a slip, or they may have more than one slip per exam board. Since the changes to examinations, you’ll no longer receive a unit per module, your child will simply receive an overall mark and grade for each subject.

    GCSE certificate

    Your child’s certificate will be sent to the school about three months after results day. Make sure you collect it or have it posted to you as soon as possible. You will need it to show to any future employers or further education establishments.

    If you notice any mistakes you must inform your exams officer as soon as possible as changes are only free in the first three months of issue.

    GCSE results

    Credit: Getty

    Results are in: What next?

    You’re more likely to be able to go into Further Education or get a good job if you have five or more GCSEs at grade C or 4 or above. Many sixth-forms and colleges do expect at least C/4 grades but some schools may take pupils with lower grades, so it’s worth giving them a call to check. Remember there is plenty of time for your teen to decide so don’t rush any decisions.

    A spokesperson from Times Higher Education said: ‘The first thing to remember is that you have plenty of options depending on how results day went. Try not to worry if things didn’t quite go the way you had planned.’

    Other options include:

    • Retaking exams – it’s possible to retake your GCSEs. English and Maths can be retaken in November and the rest the following summer. However it is an option to resit some GCSEs alongside AS levels or other further education.

    A spokesperson from Times Higher Education said: ‘The first thing would be to consider what you want to gain from the exam resit and whether you think it will be possible. Most students will be looking to get a higher grade and so you will have to think about whether this is something you could realistically achieve. Have an honest discussion with your teacher about whether you would be able to improve on your current grade. Some resits will also require a payment so make sure that you are able to provide that too.’

    • Vocational options such as BTECS or OCR Nationals and GNVQs – these have lower entry requirements and some are accepted by universities. There are hundreds to choose from and they mix theory and practical-based work. Many people are choosing vocational qualifications instead of A-levels as they are more focused toward a particular career and give you hands-on experience.
    • Try another college or school – if you choose a second option and give them a call they may be able to accommodate you.
    • Apprenticeships – these are a great way to gain entry into the work place whilst still learning.
    • Getting a job – there is the option of going straight into work. Many people work their way up the career ladder – but think about your chosen career and how far you’d be able to progress without further qualifications.

    For more help and advice call The Exam Results Helpline on 0808 100 8000 for Scotland and 0800 100 900 for the rest of the UK, or visit the UCAS website.