Among the many celebrations that GCSE results day often brings, there are some unfortunate cases where students haven’t received the results they had anticipated, causing panic, confusion, and disappointment.
This can often leave parents with the task of guiding them through the pressure of working out their next steps, meaning it’s important to get it right and support your child as best as possible.
Gareth Greenwood, education learning and development manager at the online training provider High-Speed Training, provides parents with some expert tips on what to do if their child hasn’t achieved the GCSE results they wanted this results day.
Whatever results students face, remembering that each individual has experienced their own personal journey to get there is vital. Remind them of the obstacles they’ve overcome to get to this point; it’s a credit to their work ethic in such challenging times.
For students who haven’t done as well as expected, they’re going to be feeling a whole mixture of emotions, including disappointment and panic. It’s important to remind them that they did their best, which is only something to be proud of; these results won’t be the sole determinant of their future success.
Avoid asking questions like “Why didn’t you revise harder?” or focusing on subjects they underperformed in. If they’re already disappointed in their performance, these questions will only undermine their self-confidence and make them feel worse.
Consider getting their exams re-marked
Students must get a minimum of a four in maths and either English literature or language to avoid having to retake them at A level. So, the first step for students who have scored a high three in these subjects is to ask for a re-mark. It’s not a certainty that re-marking their paper will increase their grade, and in some cases, the grade can be lowered, but it’s a step worth considering if the result is close to a four.
There is a charge for getting the exams re-marked, but in many cases, this is something that the school will cover. It should also be said that if the grade is less than a three, there’s very little chance of it increasing to a four, so in this case, it’s not worth asking for a re-mark.
Contact the college or sixth-form
Another priority after receiving disappointing results is to contact your child’s preferred college or sixth form to ask about possible options.
Many colleges will do what they can to accept your child, even if they underperformed in their GCSEs, so you must speak to them about your child’s options. They may offer your child a place on their chosen course, with conditions relating to performance or retaking key GCSEs. They may also offer them a place on a similar course.
If the college will not accept your child due to their results, then it’s time to consider other options.
Consider the career path your child wants to take
Many students will be under the impression that not receiving their desired results means they can’t pursue the career path they had in mind; it’s important to reassess and rationalise these thoughts.
It’s possible that your child can still get into their chosen career path by going straight into employment or by taking qualifications that aren’t A-levels, so you must evaluate whether college is a necessity or a bonus when it comes to entering their career of choice.
There isn’t one linear process that every student needs to follow. By reminding yourself and your child of this, you open up various possibilities for them to explore.
Don’t rush into decision-making; seek further support and advice
If your child doesn’t receive the results they need, let feelings and emotions die down so that you can see the bigger picture. There’s no immediate rush to decide, regardless of the outcome you’ve faced.
Your child’s educational support system will already provide a network of people available to consult on the next step. These people are trained and knowledgeable in this field, so it’s important to utilise them.
Trained career advisors can also help your child by providing a personalised plan of action based on the career path they have in mind.
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