GCSE results day: What are your options?

Just got your GCSE results, and not sure what to do next?

For some people, passing their GCSEs means making the move into further education. But it’s certainly not the only route you could take after sitting your exams. Especially for anyone looking to earn money right away, or move into an industry which might not need a university degree or higher education qualification to get started.

To help you consider all the options, here are just some of the things you could do after getting your GCSE results.


How has COVID-19 affected GCSE results?

OK, so if you were meant to sit your GCSEs in 2020, things have probably been a little different from the norm. 

Because you won’t have been able to sit your exams, results will be awarded based on your teacher’s predicted grades. 

You may also be able to use the results of Ofqual’s controversial algorithm, which also predicted grades. However, following a government U-turn, these will only be taken into consideration when they are higher than those provided by your teacher.


I got the grades I needed to go to college/sixth form

If you’re looking to move into Year 12, or continue your studies at college, getting the required grades is the ideal scenario. 

You can now enjoy a well-deserved summer off, before you return to school. It’s also a good time to consider your next steps. Should you go to university, or do you want to go straight into work after studying (by taking on an apprenticeship, for example). 

But first, summer… 

Five of the best-paying summer jobs


I didn’t get the grades I wanted

If you didn’t get the results that you were after, there are a few different options on how to proceed.


Appeal – Because of the exceptional circumstances of this year’s GCSEs, any student who thinks that there’s been an error made with their grades can appeal to have them looked at. This is called ‘requesting a review’, and must be done via your school. You could also ask them to make an appeal to Ofqual. Although there’s no set timeline on how long this could take, schools may be more likely to consider appeals this year, due COVID-19. The deadline to submit an appeal is September 17th 2020. 


Retakes – If your appeal is unsuccessful, or you want the chance to actually sit your exam, you’ll be able to apply for retakes. These will take place in October, and can be managed through your school (although they can also be taken independently).

A Level and GCSE retakes: Why it’s never too late to resit your exams


I want to continue studying – but not at school

Let’s face it, school isn’t for everyone.

But just because you aren’t a fan of learning in a formal setting, it doesn’t mean you can’t get qualified: with either a regulated, or professional qualification. In fact, there are a lot of courses out there which will allow you to study online, at a time that suits you. 

Some great examples of subjects you could study if you finish school at 16 include accounting (with a foundation AAT qualification), hairdressing and beauty therapy, and social care – but there are many more options out there.

However, there are some criteria around whether or not you can leave school, if you only study part-time, which could mean working or volunteering at least 20 hours a week alongside your course.

We recommend visiting gov.uk or talking to your school advisor, to find out more. 

GCSE equivalents: What you need to know

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I’m thinking about an apprenticeship

Another option for those looking to move out of formal education is to take an apprenticeship.

Most apprenticeships are available to anyone aged 16 and above. And it isn’t just the traditional trades that can provide you with opportunities.

Apprenticeships are available in over 170 different industries and range from roles in Health and Beauty through to Construction and Property, Plumbing to Graphic Design.

Not only are they a great way to get qualified and learn while you earn, they’re also an excellent opportunity to get your foot in the door with an employer and kick-start your career in your chosen field. 

Speaking of which, the government also recently announced that a new ‘Kickstart’ scheme will be introduced to help 16-24 year old’s find work. Essentially, employers will be rewarded for providing employment opportunities for this group – and its estimated 350,000 job placements will be made as a result.

Apprenticeships for school leavers

Apprenticeships: How to get started


I want to go straight into work

Aside from applying for an apprenticeship, you could also decide to go into what’s known as a traineeship.

This is essentially a six month work placement, which will set you up for an apprenticeship or full-time working role in the future. Although traineeships are relatively new, they can currently be found on the gov.uk traineeship site

Other routes into work could include studying part-time, and fitting a job around your schedule, or taking a course which comes with some element of work placement

Taking a summer job could also be a great option here too, especially if you have a rough idea of what industry you’d like to move into. Although you may not be able to take on the job full-time at this stage, you’ll be able to make valuable contacts for when you do finish school. It also gives you the opportunity to work more during your down time.

All you need to do is write a good school leaver CV, and start applying. 

Luckily, we can help with that…

Five of the best-paying jobs you can do after your GCSEs 

School leaver CV template



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