COMMENT: Don’t give up if GCSE results let you down

Angela Mogridge.
Angela Mogridge.

Not made the grade?

So today’s the day – the culmination of 11 years of education – but is it an anti-climax? Have dreams been shattered? Have those all-important C grades been achieved? Does it matter?

Well …I’m a teacher so my first instinct is to say ‘of course it matters’ – or else what’s the point of my job? Everyone needs something to show for 11 years of work, everyone needs tangible evidence of their skills and knowledge. Employers and universities need to have something to judge people against. When 200 applicants go for the same job there has to be some way of telling the difference between them. We need to be able to prove that we have the English, maths and IT skills required to progress onto higher education or become effective workers.

But what happens if you don’t get the grades? Does that make you unemployable? Will you not be able to get on that course you applied for at college? Is that it?

Well – of course the answer to those questions is no. There is always a plan B or even C or D to be implemented.

Don’t just assume that you won’t be able to get on the course you applied for – contact the college or sixth form to see if they are willing to be flexible. See what other courses they offer in the same subject area, perhaps at a lower level. Can you get to the same place via a different path?

For example, you want to be an engineer and applied to study three A levels in physics, maths and chemistry, but didn’t get the five GCSE grade C’s you needed. Have a look at BTEC Engineering courses – if you can’t get on a Level 3 programme (the equivalent of three A levels) then go for the level 2 one and apply for the higher programme next year. Look at what apprenticeship opportunities are out there in the engineering field- that way you can earn a wage as well as learn a trade.

The most important thing is to not give up – get over it and move forward – you’ll get there eventually.