GCSE Results Day 2017 – Advice For Students


The Law Of… Preparing To Enter Post-16 Education

One of the most nerve-wracking days for 16-year-olds across the UK, GCSE results day is already upon us.

This can be a stressful time and whilst many students will be celebrating successes, others may not have achieved the results they would like.

Emma Davies, Chartered Legal Executive in our Education Law and Community Care team, takes a look at what can be done if things have not gone according to plan.

Understanding The New Grading System

Moving away from the traditional A* – G grading system, a new numerical system has been put in place for some of the core GCSEs: English Literature, English Language and Maths.

This means that students can now expect to be graded on a 9 – 1 scale for these subjects. Grade 9, for example, is better than an A*, a grade 4 is equivalent to a C, and a grade 1 is a G.

This new scale is expected to be put in place for other GCSEs over the next 2 years. 

Contacting Your Sixth Form Or College

While many sixth forms and colleges do expect students to achieve certain grades to be given a place, you should not just assume that they will refuse you, so it is always worth getting in touch with the admissions department.

If you speak to the placement, they may be able to accept lower grades or offer other courses. They may even allow you to retake your exams, whilst continuing with A levels or other courses.

Looking At Alternatives

There are large numbers of post-16 placements, and other colleges or sixth forms in your area may accept lower grades and could offer the courses you wish to study.

A levels are not the only accepted qualifications so it might be worth considering courses such as BTECs as there are a wide range of courses available through these routes.

Apprenticeships are also an option to consider and cover a vast range of careers and sectors.

For example, apprenticeships can be found in:

  • Construction
  • Mechanics
  • Hospitality
  • The NHS
  • The police
  • The legal sector

You can find more information on apprenticeships on the Government's website.

Consider Resits

You may want to re-sit exams but you need to be aware that only Maths and English Language can be taken in November 2017.

The earliest you can retake all other subjects is in June 2018, and you must sit all of the written exams for each subject, whichever subject you retake.


If you think your grades are not correct, you can ask your school or college exam officer for a review of your grades. Only they can ask for a review, and even if your school is closed the results will be sent to them.

Remember that grades can be lowered as well being raised or confirmed, and you may be charged a fee, which would only be refunded if the grade is raised.

Options For Students With Statements Of Special Educational Needs (SEN), Or Education, Health And Care Plans

If students with special educational needs or their parents are concerned about the impact of results day on post-16 placements, they should seek urgent advice on the best way forward.

Our specialist team is able to discuss the options that may apply, and advise students and their parents on any action that can be taken.

How Can Simpson Millar Help Me?

Starting sixth form or college is a big step for many students, and even more so for those with SEND.

Having the right support in place from the start will make the process of settling into a new environment much smoother. If you're worried that you aren't getting access to the help you need and want to take action, our friendly Education Law team is ready to help.

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