A Guide to Understanding Your Child’s GCSE Results

Waiting for GCSE results can be a nerve-wracking time for your teen and for you too! Often for parents it can be tricky to understand what the grades actually mean as well as knowing what the options are afterwards. Here’s an easy guide to help understand your child’s GCSE results. We explain what the new grading system means, what your teen’s options are and what to do if they haven’t achieved the grade they needed.

When Do The GCSE Results Come Out?

GCSE results for 2023 are released on August 24th. On GCSE results day, your teen will be able to collect their results directly from their school. Your child’s school or teachers should inform students in advance from what time results will be available.

What Should My Teen Receive?

Your teen will receive their GCSE results on a slip – often if there is more than one exam board they will get multiple slips. Since the changes to exams and the grading system they’ll no longer receive a unit per module, your teen will get an overall mark and grade for each subject.

Understanding The New 9-1 GCSE Grades

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. This summer is the third year results will be scored on a 9 to 1 grading system rather than A*-G. ‘9’ is the highest score a child can achieve at GCSE, while a ‘1’ is the lowest. During this period of change students will likely receive a mixture of number and letter grades.

Even though the old and new systems don’t directly compare, they do fall into these boundaries:

  • A* = 7
  • A = 8-7
  • C–B = 4-6
  • G-D = 1-3

The government’s definition of a ‘good pass’ is set at grade 5 for all of the reformed GCSEs.

What If My Child Doesn’t Get The Grades?

If your teen doesn’t get the grades they need, there’s no need for them to feel down. There are many routes to success – make sure to remind your son or daughter that it is possible to retake their GCSEs. GCSE English and Maths can be retaken in November, and many other exams can be retaken in January. If not, all exams can be retaken in the following June.

How Do Students Retake GCSEs?

If your son or daughter are unhappy with their results, they should talk to their subject teacher first as they’ll be able to say whether they think your teen could achieve a better grade. Some schools will pay for the retake, others will want you to cover the costs, which is usually around £35 per exam.

Are There Other Options?

A-levels aren’t the only way you can get qualifications after your GCSEs. Many places offer vocational qualifications and often aren’t so strict on specific GCSE entry grades. These are still study courses, just like A-levels, and they give you important qualifications that employers will still recognise. Vocational qualifications can really help you get ahead in life and work as students apply learning to practical, real-life situations. Apprenticeships and volunteer work are also other options to consider, especially if your teen enjoys a more hands on approach.

Finally, if your child’s results go well then congratulations is in order! It’s now time for them to celebrate, relax for a few more weeks and start to plan for what comes next.