GCSE’s can be a nerve-wracking time for parents and teens alike. Along with two years of hard work building up to crucial exams, afterwards, it could also be the first time your child has had to make any real-life decisions.

This National Careers Week, it is important that as parents, you understand the implications of their results so it’s vital you know what they mean and what the options are available to your child afterwards.

When they eventually open their result’s envelopes, there might be some disappointed teens but there’s no need for them or you as parents to feel down. There are so many routes to future success and getting glittering GCSE results isn’t the only way. Or it could go the other way and results are far better than expected. You never know!

Understanding the 9-1 GCSE grading

  • Although they are graded from A*-G, most schools, colleges and employers treat grades A*-C as passes, a U is a fail.
  • The new grading scheme was brought in alongside a new GCSE curriculum in England.
  • 9 is the highest grade, while 1 is the lowest, not including a U (ungraded).
  • Three grades, 9, 8 and 7, roughly correspond to the old-style top grades of A* and A – this is designed to give more differentiation at the top end.
  • A grade 4 is broadly being compared to a C grade, although direct comparisons may be overly simplistic.

Results are in: What next?
Depending on your local sixth form or college, most will accept applications with five or more GCSEs at grade C (or 4) or above. But some may take pupils with lower grades, so when the time comes it’s worth giving them a call to check.

The first thing to remember though, is that your child has plenty of options depending on their results. Keep calm, if things didn’t quite go the way you had planned.

While continued learning at school or college may be the initial plan, times have changed and now many young people are starting their career early and continue their learning on-the-job with an apprenticeship. Like their employers, they realise the value of work experience and the transferable practical skills gained from an apprenticeship over the additional years spent in academia.

There are now more than 1,500 job roles supported by apprenticeships, so there’s really no limit to where your child can go next.

What is an apprenticeship?

Put simply, an apprenticeship is a job with training. It combines paid work with continued learning and training either in the workplace or at designated venues. Apprentices work alongside more experienced colleagues while completing a national recognised, role relevant programme. By the end of their apprenticeship, they will be able to demonstrate the skills, competences, knowledge and behaviours they need to succeed in their chosen career or move on with more transferrable skills.

How does it work?

Apprenticeship training can take between one and four years to complete. The length of the programme depends on the apprenticeship, its level, the industry and the skills the apprentice already has.

Functional Skills – getting maths and English qualifications

Getting grade C, or 4 in maths and English is key to any next steps. If they haven’t achieved the necessary grades in these subjects, they may have to consider ways to re-sit these exams.

During an apprenticeship, however, the apprentice is expected to complete functional skills in maths and English, which are equivalent to GCSE passes. They are exempt from assessment if they have already attained GCSE grades A*-C certificates.

When completing the functional skills, the apprentice is supported by their development coach through a series of learning activities specific to their needs, based on some initial diagnostic results. Learning activities will be embedded into the apprenticeship programme and the functional skills assessment is completed via an on-screen test. If they need more support Remit Group is able to provide this too.

What to do next…

Registering an interest

If you think your young person is ready to apply for an apprenticeship, they will need to do so in the same way as any other job. They will have to register an interest and submit an application in the form of a CV or by filling out an application form, then attend an interview.

The Government’s ‘Find an Apprenticeship portal’  is a great way to search for apprenticeships by sector and by location. School leavers can register their details at any time to be informed of suitable jobs.