Waiting to receive GCSE results is always both an exciting and nerve-wracking time. The tension is only likely to be heightened this summer with 2017 being the first year where our girls and other pupils nationally will receive the new 9-1 grading for the reformed GCSEs. For our current Year 11, these new grades will be in English Literature and Language only, with all other results being awarded the traditional A*-G. In 2018, virtually all our GCSEs will have been taught as one of the more challenging reformed courses and will be graded 9-1.

The period of transition between the number and letter grades does leave some uncertainty for all of us, as we try and recalibrate towards this new grading currency. Whilst it is difficult to draw direct comparisons between the two systems, we hope that the following information may assist parents in this process.

In the first year each new GCSE subject is introduced, broadly the same proportion of students will get grades 1, 4 and 7 and above as would have got grades G, C and A or above respectively in the old system. Where last year 39% of all our girl’s GCSE grades were A or A*, we know that these will be spread across the 7-9 range, with far fewer grade 9s being awarded nationally than the current A*.

Grading new GCSEs from 2017

Source: Ofqual. Further information at https://youtu.be/pgZYx_fycrM

At the end of March, the Department of Education announced that the benchmark “pass” for reformed GCSEs will be a grade 4 (‘standard pass’) with a grade 5 being regarded as a ‘strong pass’. The Secretary of State for Education went on to confirm that “where employers, FE providers and universities currently accept a grade C, we would expect them to continue recognising a grade 4.” This means that for at least the next two years, pupils who achieve a grade 4 or higher in both English and Maths will not be required to retake these core subjects at Sixth Form in the same way that they do currently if not achieving the C grade or above.

Whilst the picture at this time of change may seem confusing, parents can rest assured that we will continue to work hard with all our girls to ensure they achieve their personal best, whatever grading system is being applied!

Mr Simon Hillier, Deputy Headteacher
Manor House School, Bookham.