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Know Your Options Before Results Day: GCSE

Posted by: Jo Carter - 12 May 2017 - MPW Group - Read time: 5 mintues

GCSE results are released in August each year. Following the results, some students will decide to remain at their current school for A level, some might prefer to make a change and others might find themselves compelled to make a change. This article will discuss possible scenarios for Results Day with some advice about how to handle each one.

Staying at your current school

Most schools require students to pass a certain number of GCSEs with particular grades in order to progress into the sixth form. They will also have specific requirements for progression to particular A level subjects. Make sure you know what these are and consider your A level options in advance of Results Day.

Choosing an alternative school

Many students choose to use the natural break between GCSE and A level to move to an alternative school. Some are disillusioned with the boarding lifestyle and are looking for a more mature environment while others might be attracted by the lack of subject timetabling restrictions imposed upon students in a sixth-form college.

If a student is considering moving schools, they are advised to investigate the options early in the summer, soon after the GCSE examinations or even during the May half term break, when many colleges remain open. Visiting schools and colleges is prudent, to allow students to learn more about an institution first-hand and ensure that they feel comfortable with the environment.

Most sixth-form colleges are more than happy to meet with prospective students and their parents to answer any questions. There is no obligation to enrol following such a meeting and, if they would like, students can even hold an offer as a ‘contingency’ for Results Day, allowing them the safety net of a place should they not achieve the requisite results to remain at their current school.

GCSE retakes

The two most important subjects to pass at GCSE level are English and Mathematics. Students who don’t reach their potential in either of these are strongly encouraged to retake. There are a number of options available for students who have underperformed, which will depend on the nature of the results.

At MPW, there are no timetabling restrictions meaning that students can take, if they wish, a combination of A levels and GCSEs at the same time. This flexibility ensures that students are not penalised in the areas they have done well as a result of the areas they struggle in. A talented historian, for example, can start A level History at the same time as working on a GCSE Mathematics retake.

There are winter examination sittings of both English Language and Mathematics, allowing students to take these at the end of the Autumn Term and then spend the Spring and Summer Terms focussing entirely on their A level subjects.

If students have underperformed in a number of subjects it may be advisable to retake a number of GCSEs over a one-year course.


MPW remains open over the summer vacation and our senior academic team will be available to provide students and parents with advice regarding A levels and GCSE Results Day. If you would like any help or advice, or to book an appointment to visit MPW please do not hesitate to contact your nearest college.