Are you ready for the changes to GCSEs this summer?

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As many of you will now be aware, the GCSE grading system is changing this summer. That means students getting their GCSE results this year will receive certificates with a mixture of numbers and letters.

In our previous blog, we outlined all the changes you need to be aware of, this blog will focus on what it means for you as employers.

Here are three keys things you need to know as employers to prepare for this change:

  1. No more A* to G


    GCSEs will be graded on a new scale of 9 to 1 rather than A* to G as before, with 9 being the highest grade to distinguish clearly between the old and new qualifications. So pupils this year will sit the first new GCSEs in English language, English literature and Mathematics, and old exams in all other GCSE subjects. This means that when students are applying for apprenticeship position you will see a mixture of both number and letter grades – this reflects the change in grading systems.


    It is important to remember both the new and old qualifications are equally valid qualifications.


  2. The grades are not directly comparable

    The old GCSE grading system and the new one is not direct comparable. Instead they are aligned at three points to give a guideline of what each grade equates to. Specifically, a grade 1 and above is the similar to getting a G, achieving a grade 4 similar to getting a grade C, and grade 7 is similar to getting an A and above.



  3. Standard vs. strong pass

The Department for Education will broadly recognise getting grade 4, a standard pass, similar to getting C and above currently. If a student gets grade 4 and above in English or Mathematics they will not be required to re-take the subject. However going forward the Department will use grade 5 and above i.e. a strong pass, as one of its headline performance measures for school.


The Department has produced this factsheet to help employers adapt to the new GCSEs, a dedicated website outlining why they are making these changes and what it will mean, and finally they have also created a LinkedIn page that you can join to receive regular updates – we encourage you to follow this.


Education and Skills Policy Advisor

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