Skip to main content


City of London Freemen's, Ashstead on GCSE results day25 August 2022

As with A levels last week, 2022 is the year that the grade inflation from the two covid-impacted years starts to be brought under control. The Department for Education has decided that grade boundaries must return to those seen in pre-pandemic years by next year and so 2022 is a midway point between the generous 2021 grades and next years' grades which will be more like those from 2019. 

Inevitably, some of those receiving results will feel hard done by and it is true that there will be few 7s, 8s and 9s awarded this year but we recommend this year's cohort to focus on the positives. As long as you are able to continue with your education as planned, don't worry too much if your grades are below what you had hoped for. 

Performance at GCSE is the key that unlocks entry to A level, BTec, T levels and university courses. Most sixth forms and FE colleges will have indicated the GCSE grades a student must obtain to study a particular subject at A level – it’s usually grade 4 or above, but sometimes a higher grade will be stipulated.

Whatever subject(s) you want to study, GCSEs in maths and English at grade 4 or above, are a baseline requirement. 

How to react if your GCSE results are not good?

  • Go into school. You may have received your results online or via text, but going in to school means that you can get advice and discuss options with teachers straight away.

  • Communication is key. Not made the grade for sixth form or FE college? Talk to the admissions team or course leaders – some colleges are flexible or will allow you to start your chosen course and study for retakes at the same time. For students with few GCSEs, advisors may suggest level 2 vocational courses.

  • Get your papers remarked. Schools can arrange for papers to be looked at again. This is usually only worth doing for those candidates who missed predicted grades by one or two marks. There is a charge for this if the exam board leaves the grade unchanged and there's always the risk that your grade could go down instead of up!

  • Re-take the course. The government’s Education and Skills Funding Agency states that candidates who haven't achieved 4s or better in maths and/or English language must enrol on the GCSE course(s) again. In fact, any funding for further education is granted on the condition that a student achieves at least a grade 4 in each subject. This will be alongside the A level or BTec courses they are taking. Those with 2 or less can study 'stepping stone' qualifiations instead.

  • Resit. Students wishing to resit maths or English GCSE  may be able to do so in November of this year, but must wait till next summer to resit other subjects. IGCSEs [International GCSEs - favoured by many independent schools] can be resat in January. Some schools and colleges will arrange for students to do the resits but exams can also be taken through a tutorial agency or as private entrants at the nearest exam centre. See individual exam board websites for information about this.

Photo credit: City of London Freemen's School


Do you want help from The Good Schools Guide Education Consultants?

Our expert education consultants can provide your family with one-to-one help on all of the issues raised in this article and many more. We regularly guide parents on best practice for exam preparation and assist them in mapping out potential educational pathways for their children. If you would like to find out more about our services, visit the Education Consultants homepage or to speak directly with one of the team email [email protected] or call 0203 286 6824

Most popular Good Schools Guide articles

  • Special educational needs introduction

    Need help? Perhaps you suspect your child has some learning difficulty and you would like advice on what you should do. Or perhaps it is becoming clear that your child's current school is not working for him or her, and you need help to find a mainstream school which has better SEN provision, or to find a special school which will best cater for your child's area of need. Our SEN consultancy team advises on both special schools, and the mainstream schools with good SEN support, from reception through to the specialist colleges for 19+. Special Educational Needs Index

  • The Good Schools Guide International

    Find top international, British, IB and American schools in over 40 countries. The Good Schools Guide International publishes impartial and forthright reviews of international schools across the world.

  • Grammar schools best value added

    We examined the value-added from KS2 to GCSE for 2022 to see which state selective grammar schools added the most value to their offspring. A note of caution - the more highly selective a grammar school, the less scope there will be to add value.

  • Grammar schools in the UK

    Grammar schools are state-funded, academically selective senior schools. The education a child receives at grammar school is paid for by the state unlike at private schools which provide education for a fee. There are currently around 163 located in 36 English local authorities, with around 167,000 pupils between them. Northern Ireland has a further 67 grammar schools, but there are none in Wales or Scotland. A word of caution: there are private schools that have the word 'grammar' in their name but this is purely for historical reasons. 

  • Music, drama and dance at Performing Arts schools

    At specialist music, dance or performing arts schools, the arts aren't optional extras. They’re intrinsic to the school curriculum. Students are expected to fit in high level training and hours of practice alongside a full academic provision. It's a lot to ask any child to take on, but for those with exceptional performing ability this kind of education can be transformative.

Subscribe for instant access to in-depth reviews:

☑ 30,000 Independent, state and special schools in our parent-friendly interactive directory
☑ Instant access to in-depth UK school reviews
☑ Honest, opinionated and fearless independent reviews of over 1,200 schools
☑ Independent tutor company reviews

Try before you buy - The Charter School Southwark

Buy Now

GSG Blog >

The Good Schools Guide newsletter

Educational insight in your inbox. Sign up for our popular newsletters.


Our most recent newsletter: