What every parent ought to urgently know about the new GCSE grading system in 2017

What every parent ought to urgently know about the new GCSE grading system in 2017

The days of perceived GCSE Grade inflation appear to be over

There is bad news for any parent of a child who is struggling to achieve a GCSE pass. The grade boundaries have been moved up. Under the new GCSE reforms, the government are making it harder for students to achieve a “good pass” Employers have yet to understand what it may mean.

Beginning this summer in English, English literature, and maths, the government’s definition of a “good pass” at GCSE (currently a grade C) will be set at level 4, on exam papers that will be more rigorous, and harder to achieve than before. Within a few years this ‘good pass’ will be increased to level 5.

“Grade 5 will be positioned in the top third of the marks for a current Grade C and bottom third of the marks for a current Grade B. This will mean it will be of greater demand than the present grade C.”

-Exams regulator Ofqual

Why is it harder to achieve a good pass?

As the image below shows, most C grades under the current system will be equivalent to grade 4, not grade 5. This means most C grades will be considered more like D grades.

new gcse numbers
It’s more difficult now for students to achieve a “good-pass”.

That’s why fewer students are likely to get the grades required to succeed in their choice of college, sixth form, and university. The change will inevitably put current GCSE students an unfair disadvantage in the job market.

Many parents I speak with have heard little about these changes. It seems to me, there has been a lack of communication from those in power about what these reforms mean for you and your children.

These are confusing times how are you to know what to do to so your children get the best GCSE grades possible?

However it does not have to be bad news. First, I want you to understand that it’s not you or your child’s fault. It’s possible you haven’t been told what to expect. Schools have not been given additional resources to implement these changes.

The fact is, a recent Ofqual study also revealed that 52% of HR professionals (the people doing the hiring in big companies) are confused about the reforms, too.

levels of misunderstanding
Parents and students aren’t the only ones struggling to understand the reforms

You, as a parent who wants the best for your child, can do something about it.

Times of chaos and uncertainty present an opportunity for those that are prepared to take it.

You have the opportunity to give your child a positive advantage to improve their chances of getting into the sixth-form, college and university of their choice. I’ll tell you more about that shortly.

But first, let me explain how the new grading system works…

How the new 2017 GCSE reforms will work.

The biggest ever overhaul of GCSE grading – which will involve A*- G grades being gradually replaced by 9-1 grades – starts this summer. The numbered grading system – which places 9 as the top grade and 1 as the lowest – will be used for the first time after students sit exams in the reformed English, English literature and maths GCSEs.

Year 11 students, who will sit exams in the first reformed maths and English GCSEs this year, will receive a mix of grading systems for their results, as will Year 10 students, who are currently being taught an additional 20 reformed GCSEs.

Perhaps the most worrying change is that the equivalent of a current ‘C’ grade might not be good enough. The new standard is being set at a grade ‘5.’ The new grade 5 is equivalent to the current high C or low B. This means that students with a fair C grade under the current system
will now achieve only a grade 4 and may be deemed to have failed.

All subjects will convert to the new, more challenging grading system within 2 years

By 2019, the eight-point A*-G scale will no longer exist and all qualifications will be graded using the new nine-point numerical system. The government has introduced numbers to distinguish clearly between the unreformed GCSEs and the more challenging reformed ones.

As already described the new scale will not be directly equivalent. For example, a grade 4 represents the bottom two-thirds of a grade C and a grade 5 represents the top third of grade C and the bottom third of grade B.

The government’s definition of a “good pass” at GCSE for school accountability purposes (currently a grade C) will be set at grade 5, and will be harder to achieve with a more challenging exam than before.

Meanwhile, indeed the very purpose is that, fewer students will be expected to get a grade 9 than previously received an A*, as there are three top numerical grades (7, 8 and 9) compared with two in the earlier system (A and A*).

How you can help your child improve their GCSE grades under the new system

The Community Schools offer quality tutoring services in Suffolk that aim to build confidence and engender a love of learning. The highly successful Easter Grade booster Courses allow students to have fun whilst helping improve their GCSE exam performance and grades.

The majority of Grade Booster students achieve a grade in English Maths or Science that are at least one grade higher than their predicted grades. Our approach helps to overcome anxiety, avoid exam fright whilst building up confidence and a mastery of their subject.

There are one or two days courses available during the Easter holidays in Kesgrave (Ipswich) and Bury St.Edmunds.

The majority of Grade Booster students have gone on to exceed their predicted grades in English, Maths and Science by at least one grade.

The booster classes are run in small groups by qualified, experienced, professional teachers to make sure your child gets the time and support needed to improve on predicted exam grades.

The classes could be the difference between making the new grade 5 or not.

The grade booster courses are not crammers but rather they:

  • Consolidate and improve understanding of key concepts.
  • Provide individual support in areas of concern.
  • Help students organise their learning and improve on revision skills.
  • Guide on key topics for exam success.
  • Help to build confidence and manage exam stress.

All revision materials are provided.

All you have to do is drop your children off for the day (or two) and let us take care of the rest.

All Community Schools Tutors are experienced teachers working in successful state sector schools. Additional support is available to students online.

community schools - studying followed by success
Left: Students hard at work. Right: Community Schools students celebrating their exam success

Venues and dates

Kesgrave Community Centre:

Monday 3rd April
Tuesday 4th April
Wednesday 5th April
Thursday 6th April

Bury St. Edmunds:

Monday 10th April
Tuesday 11th April
Wednesday 12th April
Thursday 13th April


1 and 2 day courses are available.

Each day consists of 6 hours made up of 3 sessions with breaks.
Each day is focused on the support and intensive revision required to focus on one subject.

1 day: GCSE £120
2 days: GCSE £200 A Level £300

Book your child’s spot now

To book your child’s place on the grade booster course, and increase their chances of exam success, call Claire Meadows-Smith now on 07747 037441. Or you can email Claire at claire@thecommunityschools.co.uk. Why not do it now while it’s fresh in your mind?

To your child’s GCSE success,

Claire Meadows-Smith
Founder, Community Schools Tutoring

P.S. Easter is only a few weeks away and the places are already filling up. To guarantee your child’s place, please book now. Call Claire on 07747 037441.

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