Written on: 23 August 2022
Written by: Frances Hardcastle
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Collecting your GCSE results can be a nerve-wracking time and might be the first time you’ll receive a whole set of academic results all at once. In this blog, we’ll take you through what to expect on GCSE Results Day and some of your options for your next steps after Year 11.
This year, GCSE results day is on Thursday 25th August.
Every school is different and will have their own plans for results day, but generally – you’ll pick up an envelope in person containing your results. It is often advised to open your results at the school if you can – this means that you’re in the right place for advice on next steps if things go better or worse than expected.
If you’re going into your school to collect your GCSE results, you should bring photo or school ID (if you have it), a pen and paper (to make notes on any next steps or advice), and your phone (for taking pictures and calling friends and family). You school will also let you know if there is anything else you’ll need to bring with you.
Legally, young people should stay in education or training until they are 18 years old, up from 16 just a few years ago. But if another two years at your school fills you with dread, never fear – there are lots of options for your post-16 education, including T Levels, college courses, and apprenticeships.
A-Levels are probably one of the best known and most conventional pathways for life after GCSEs. With A-Levels you can keep studying multiple subjects at an advanced level, with some Sixth Forms offering you a choice of three to five different subjects. You can stay on at your current school (if they have a Sixth Form) or start fresh with another Sixth Form or college. Individual schools and colleges may differ, but you will usually need GCSE grades at a 4 or above in English and Maths, along with 4s in any subjects you want to take at A-Level.
T Levels are a new vocational qualification that launched in September 2020. T Levels are equivalent to three A-Levels and take two years to complete. T Levels offer a mix of classroom learning and work experience where you complete a 315 hour industry placement (around 45 days). At the moment, there is a small range of T Levels to choose from, with more expected each year. Right now, you can take a T Level in healthcare science, education and childcare, onsite construction, and other vocational areas. T Levels are still being rolled out, but you can find a T Level provider near you with this handy postcode checker.
An apprenticeship is a T Level’s older sibling, a well-established hands-on qualification designed to get you up and running in the workplace from day one. Apprenticeships are available for just about any career and any industry you can think of – from data analysis to software development, catering, construction, marketing, IT and even law and healthcare. In fact, a lot of highly specialised fields prefer those who have the real-world experience that an apprenticeship brings.
With an apprenticeship, you’ll be based with an employer, earning a wage and attending training courses. These can be one day a week at a local college, or delivered remotely as bigger blocks every 6-8 weeks. Apprenticeships are an amazing route to a long-term career in your chosen field. You’ll build up industry experience and a great network of contacts alongside a recognised qualification, putting you head and shoulders above other candidates your age in the jobs market. At Baltic Apprenticeships, 95% of people who complete their course remain in full-time employment afterwards.
Apprenticeships have lots of different levels, from a Level 2 to a Level 7. Level 3 apprenticeships are a great place to start after your GCSEs. The minimum grades for an apprenticeship are typically a GCSE 4 or higher in English and Maths, but this can vary according to individual apprenticeships and training providers.
Alongside A-Levels, Apprenticeships, and T Levels there are a huge range of other courses and qualifications that you can do after your GCSEs, including:
BTECs are flexible, you could study a BTEC either alongside academic qualifications or as part of a wider programme (such as an apprenticeship). You can also study a BTEC as a standalone course.
If you don’t get the grades you were hoping for on GCSE results day, you still have a lot of options open to you. It’s completely ok to feel upset or disappointed, especially if it comes as a surprise, but a bad GCSE result isn’t the end of the world. The key thing to remember is not to panic, and to come up with a plan.
If you want to appeal a GCSE result, especially one that is unusual or unexpectedly low, your first step should be to speak with your teacher or head of year. They’ll be able to talk you through the appeals process and get things moving for you. If you’d like to appeal, you should do this as soon as possible – on results day itself if you can. Acting quickly will give you the time to work on other options if the appeal doesn’t go as planned.
If you just missed out the grades you needed for your chosen college course or Sixth form place, you should contact them as soon as you can to see if they will still accept you with the grades you have.
If not, you can look at other courses or colleges in your area to see if you could enrol onto something similar. You could also think about alternative qualifications such as a BTEC or Apprenticeship.
No matter what happens on Results Day, you should be proud of the way you’ve handled this incredibly stressful time. As you discover what’s next for you and move onto your next steps in life; you’ll realise that these are the qualities that define you – not your GCSE grades.