Expert offers advice to parents as Suffolk students prepare to collect much-anticipated GCSE results

GCSE results will be handed out tomorrow

GCSE results will be handed out tomorrow - Credit: PA

Tomorrow is GCSE exam results day – which can mean one thing: stress for children, teachers and parents a like.

The work has been marked, the hours of study are long gone and the wait to find out what the child’s next step is here.

Catherine Sezen from the Association of Colleges has shared her tips.

• Find out about all of the options: Regardless of the results your son or daughter has received, there is still time for them to change their mind about what they want to do next. You can help by making sure you know what options are available in your local area. Find out more by contacting your local college or visit the National Careers website

• Seek out advice: If your son or daughter hasn’t quite got the grades they wanted, don’t panic. Encourage them to talk to their school or college and ask for advice about all of the education and training options.

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• Consider what might suit your son or daughter best: You may have a fixed idea of what you want your son or daughter to do after GCSEs. A-levels are one option, but at college they could take a technical or professional qualification which may lead directly to the career they are interested in. Colleges offer BTECs, NVQs, City and Guilds and also A-levels. More information is available from the UCAS website – both routes can lead to university.

•Research apprenticeships: You may not know much about apprenticeships but they are a great way to earn and learn particularly if your son or daughter knows what job they want to go into. Many local and national companies now offer apprenticeships. Colleges can help find the right one and you can also find out more at

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• GCSE English and maths: The rules have changed now and if your son or daughter didn’t achieve at least a grade C or above in GCSE English and maths they will need to re-take them alongside any other qualifications they plan to do. Colleges will be able to support them through this.

• Understanding the qualification levels terminology: After GCSEs it seems as if there is a whole new language to learn about qualifications. If you know what they all mean then you’ll be able to better understand what your son or daughter might want to do next.

• Levels:

Entry level – suitable for students who have gained no GCSEs Level 1 – equivalent to at least four GCSEs below grade C

Level 2 – equivalent to at least four GCSEs at grade C or above

Level 3 – equivalent to two to three A-levels

16-18 Study programme - This includes, a vocational qualification, employability skills, such as work experience, CV writing, preparation for interviews

• And finally, don’t let your son or daughter get disheartened: whether they have received the grades they wanted or not, there is something out there that is right for them. Try not to let your vision for their success cloud your judgement. Make sure they look at all their options, do their research and get as much advice as they can Catherine Sezen is senior policy manager at the Association of Colleges (AoC).

• If your son or daughter hasn’t quite got the grades they wanted, don’t panic. Encourage them to talk to their school/college

For full coverage of GCSE results day, or to find out how your local school performed, see our results page here

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