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GCSEs results day 2017: What to do next

PUBLISHED: 08:20 24 August 2017 | UPDATED: 12:34 24 August 2017

Students sitting an exam. Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

Students sitting an exam. Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

If there is one day guaranteed to punctuate the calm of summer it’s likely to be today, when youngsters collect their GCSE results from school.

In an ideal world everyone gets an A, but what if you don’t get the grades you want?In an ideal world everyone gets an A, but what if you don’t get the grades you want?

If they get the grades they want, they and their parents can relax – their path to sixth-form or college is assured. But what should you do if you haven’t done as well as expected?

The first thing to do is to contact the sixth form or college you had hoped to attend. It’s tempting for parents to do this on behalf of their demoralised children. But don’t – it’s a mistake. Admissions tutors are much more likely to be impressed if a student takes the initiative and contacts them directly.

Parents may be naturally tempted to appeal a poor GCSE result. This is an option but in most cases the school would have to agree to lodge an appeal, it takes up to 30 days, and the chances of success have declined markedly since the appeals system was overhauled last year. In short, it’s an outside bet but it’s no substitute for a plan.

Remember, too, that schools and colleges will want to help – they have places to fill and they won’t be reimbursed if they remain unfilled. Yes, they won’t want to take students who they think will struggle, but if there is a solution they will be keen to help your child find it.

How flexible schools and colleges are prepared to be depends on which GCSEs a student failed to pass and by how much. English and maths are essential, so if you didn’t pass them, or failed to get a sufficiently high grade, you should resit them in November.

Many schools and colleges will allow students to start A-levels in other subjects while they resit English and maths, it depends on the subject mix. But it’s worth asking before looking elsewhere.

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