GCSE Results Day for Parents: Be Prepared Ahead of Time


  1. When is GCSE results day?
  2. What time do GCSE results come out?
  3. How are GCSEs graded?
  4. What can I do as a parent in the run-up to GCSE results day?
  5. What does my child need to take on GCSE results day?
  6. When can you retake GCSEs?
  7. How can I appeal if I don’t agree with my GCSE results?

GCSE results day. Most of us have memories of some kind of results day and the feelings of excitement and fear that went along with it. Our whole future seemed to hang on what was written on one piece of paper. Your results influenced whether you could apply to Oxford or Cambridge, whether you would enrol on a vocational course or apply for an apprenticeship.

Whilst exam results aren’t everything, after two years of hard work, GCSE results day is an exciting and nerve-wracking time for students. It's time for your child to find out how they fared against the rest of the country and use their grades to move on to the next step of their education.

Not much has changed in the way of emotions but are you clued up on the process? Are you armed with all the information to guide your child through this new experience? Find out all you need to know before, on and after the big day so that you can best navigate your teen through the experience.👊teen stressed about gcse results day

When is GCSE results day?


This is the time when children who are GCSE-exam age will find out how they’ve done. In 2021, results day was a bit different. Due to the pandemic, students didn’t take physical exams, but were given grades by their subject teachers based on mock exams, coursework and tests in class. Despite this, students still received their results for every subject on the same day: Thursday 12th August.📅

The date will return to normal in 2022 as (pre-pandemic) results are published on the third Thursday in August. Last year, when grades were entirely teacher-assessed, results fell a week earlier to the second Thursday to leave time for appeals. Uniquely, it’s the first summer we’ll be returning back to proper, externally-examined grades since 2019.

In 2022, GCSE results day will be on 25th August, following exams in May and June. This is later than it was in 2021 because it had to allow for pupils to appeal the grades their teachers had given them. As pupils will once again be taking traditional, pre-pandemic exams in 2022, this extra time is no longer necessary. 

Not sure exactly how grades work? Remember to check our our previous information and advice on this topic, we have it covered 👍🏼

And why does it all matter? Well GCSE grades can be the main indicator of what happens next after school ends at the end of Year 11. Lots of students want to go onto colleges or sixth forms, which tend to be selective. They rely on schools to provide predicted grades for their students before they’ve even sat their exams. Then when GCSE results day comes around, these institutions can confirm their places.

Apart from sixth form (where students usually sit academic A-Levels, BTECs or the IB), students can take on vocational qualifications at Further Education (FE) colleges or apprenticeships (a job with nationally-recognised training). They can even go straight into work, with part-time education or training alongside it. 

As always with results day, grades can be appealed after GCSE results day. This is called a ‘review of marking’ where examiners will check how the paper was originally marked and if it was within ‘tolerance’. Depending on their decision, papers might go up or even down in marks and grades. Remember to check out our GCSE Grades Explained for 2022 for a more in-depth breakdown of what all the grades signify. 

If students aren’t happy with their results on GCSE results day, they can even apply to resit the examination the following summer (2023). English and maths even have an opportunity for resits in November right after the summer (with those results coming out in January). 


What time do GCSE results come out?


Depending on your child’s school, results will come out as early as 8:00am (your child’s school may ask them to come in just after that). 

It’s important to arrive on time on GCSE results day, to give your child time to read and process their results, to share with their peers and to talk with their teachers. It’s at this stage that they might even start thinking of appeals if they need to, read on for how to support if and when this eventuality happens.


How are GCSEs graded?


The grades for GCSEs go from 9 to 1. This replaced the old system of grades from A to G in 2017. The Ofqual numerical system in relation to the alphabetical system is shown in the chart below:

Numerical system

Alphabetical system




A*/high A


Low A


High B


Low B/high C


Low C


D/high E


Low E/high F


Low F/G




A pass mark is considered to be 4, which is the equivalent to a C under the old system.

However, 2022 will be a transitional period to allow for the disruption the pandemic has caused to children’s education. As a result, in the interests of fairness, grades will generally not be as high as those in 2020, but higher than those in 2019. Ofqual also states that some exam boards will give information in advance regarding exams and that study aids will be permitted in some exams.

In autumn, there is the usual chance for students to do maths and English GCSE retakes. In autumn 2021, there is also the opportunity for pupils to retake if they aren’t happy with the results they received in summer 2021 or if they weren’t able to get a teacher-assessed grade at that time for some reason.

Be aware that IGCSEs are still graded under the old alphabetical system. If this applies to your child, you can find more information here.👈


What can I do as a parent in the run-up to GCSE results day?


GCSE results day is a turning point. It’s a great day to reflect with your child on what’s passed (years of hard work and exams) and what’s next (higher education, an apprenticeship, work). If they haven’t done as well as they’d hoped it’s important you stay calm and reassuring. They might feel a loss of control, so it could be time for you to step in. Now is not the time to say ‘I told you so!’.

Here are some things you can do as a parent to support your child on the big day:

  • Stay calm: If you are stressed and anxious, the chances are that your child will sense this and start to feel the same way

  • Encourage healthy eating: 🍲 This will help everyone feel at their best when the big day comes around
  • Get enough sleep: Poor sleeping habits can affect a child’s mental health and will make them less able to cope with the day and what might follow
  • Be positive: In the days leading up to results day, why not discuss a plan B as well as the best outcome? Explain that, while you may well achieve the grades you want, there are often many ways of achieving your goal even if you don’t get the desired results at the first instance. Disappointment is much easier to deal with if you’ve thought of a plan B.  
  • Be open-minded and available: At this point, your child might be putting a lot of pressure on themselves and thinking a lot about their future. You can discuss this with them and help them find their chosen field of study
  • Work out how you’re going to receive the results: Find out about arrangements for collecting the GCSE results: Is it only in person from the school or is it possible and/or preferable to receive them via email? Does your child want to go alone or with a friend or family member?
  • Have something fun planned: The chances are you’re going to want to celebrate your child’s achievements. Find out what your child enjoys doing and organise something nice to do together. 😀

Not sure exactly what to do when results don’t go as planned? Work through some or all of the following:

  • Speak with their next place of study: likelihood is, they’ll accept them anyway if their grades are a little lower than expected. Everybody’s human, and they’ll have accounted for this in their placements. Remember to save the contact details or more than one school, sixth form or college in case they still retract the place for your child. 
  • Consider another option: if grades are a lot lower than expected, the likelihood is your child will struggle with ongoing academic study, or study in that particular subject. They might want to think about a back-up college or sixth form, or even an apprenticeship.
  • Figure out if some subjects need retaking, or reviewing (previously remarking). You can do this independently or through your child’s school. Remember to ask for help from the experts: the teachers!


What does my child need to take on GCSE results day?


It’s best to contact your child’s school to find out about how the day will be organised. Each school has different arrangements. Most schools encourage students to come in person to collect their results, but some schools publish them via email or on an online portal. 

What to take


A fully-charged phone

To contact your family and friends and take some celebratory photographs. In the world of social media, your child will probably want to tell everyone about it on Instagram, Snapchat or an equivalent platform.

Photo ID

Although it’s likely that a teacher who knows your child will be giving them their results, it’s worth taking this just in case.

A friend or family member

While some people prefer to receive their results alone, others will need support. If this is your child, make sure their preferred support person goes with them.

A pen

Your child may have to write down some information.

Contact details

These are necessary so that your child can inform the relevant college or apprenticeship provider in case you need to go with plan B.

National career service helpline information

Your child may want extra support and this is a great service to use.

A drink and a snack

It’s important to stay hydrated and a snack will give your child energy.


When can you retake GCSEs? 


With any luck your child will have received the grades they wanted and be looking forward to the next exciting stage in their educational journey. ⭐

In some cases, your child may have failed an exam that is required to progress further with their plan. If this is the case, try to be encouraging and positive and help them with the next step. It must make the situation ten times worse if they can see their parents are disappointed in them as well!

If your child has failed to get the required grade 4 in maths and/or English, speak to someone. Teachers are present on results day for this reason. They have experience of what to do so they should be your first port of call.

Contact the college who will also be able to advise you. Sometimes your child will be able to do retakes at the same time as starting their A levels so it’s certainly worth checking. If your child was due to start an apprenticeship, contact the provider to see if they will still be able to start or if they’ll need to achieve the required results beforehand.

With the exception of 2021, when your child can retake any subject, maths and English are the only resits you can do in November. Many schools and colleges will help your child prepare for these. The good news is, they won’t have to wait too long to do so. It may be worth hiring a tutor to give your child the best chance of passing second time around. Why not book a free trial lesson with GoStudent today! 💪

If the autumn is too soon to retake, or if you have a difficult teenager who is resistant to the idea, your child could always wait until the summer exams to try again. Some children just need time to process what has happened for a number of reasons.

Without a grade 4 in maths and/or English, your child willl need to keep studying these subjects until they’re 18. The type of study depends on what grade they got:




If you’re doing a full-time course the following year (over 540 hours) you need to resit the GCSE


If you’re studying part-time the following year (150-539 hours) you can take the functional skills test instead

2 or below

You will be able to take a functional skills test instead of a GCSE.


If the thought of having to study for these subjects again gets your child down, it might be worth trying out a new revision method. Without maths and English their options will be limited so do your very best to motivate and encourage them! If they are lacking in self-confidence, sport is a good way to help and has a knock-on effect with their learning.


How can I appeal if I don’t agree with my GCSE results?


In a small number of cases, a result that your child achieved may seem wrong. If this is true for your child, there is a procedure you can follow:

  1.     You can contact your child’s school and ask them to review the grade they have awarded
  2.     If the school sticks to the grade they have given, you can ask the school to appeal to the exam board
  3.     If you think the exam board hasn’t achieved a satisfactory outcome, you can ask for a review from Ofqual

You can find more information here.👈

GCSE results day is a time to come together to either celebrate the results of your child’s hard work or problem-solve and find the next positive move forward for them. Whatever you do, try to put yourself in their shoes and remember how big the day felt for you. Not every child is academic but every child is good at something. Your job as a parent is to find out where their strengths lie. Good luck! 🍀

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