Navigating GCSE, A-Level and AS-Level results days 2021

04 August, 2021 : 16:48
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All the young people getting their GCSE, A-level and AS-level results deserve our congratulations and support.

Results day can be a worrying and stressful time for parents and young people. You and your child will probably have lots of questions to ask over the next few days and weeks, so we’ve pulled together the essential information you need to support your child as they consider their next steps, with links in the last section to further help and guidance for parents in Wales and Northern Ireland as well as England.

How are the GCSE and A-level grades 2021 calculated?

Your child’s school or college submitted Teacher Assessed Grades (TAGs) to the exam boards back in June, based on what students were taught, and not what they’ve missed. Grades were judged on students’ coursework, previous tests, mock exams, essays, homework and other relevant evidence.

The exam boards check the teachers' submissions for some students in a sample of schools, to ensure that the grades have been fairly allocated.

When is results day?

Exam results have been brought forward this year, to give students plenty of time to appeal if they feel that a mistake has been made in the allocation of their grade or grades. Results days will be:

  • Tuesday 10 August for AS and A levels
  • Thursday 12 August for GCSEs

The results slips and certificates will look the same as any other year.

How will my child get their GCSE and A-level results on results day?

Your child’s school should have provided information about whether results will be sent by email or post. Check with the school if you haven’t received any information about this yet.

What can we do if we’re not happy with the grades?

If your child is dissatisfied with their results, and is worried that they cannot progress to the next phase of their education because of it, there are a few options to consider.

  • Appeal. DfE guidance says the following about appeals: "If they believe their grade is wrong, students can ask their centre to check for errors. If the student still believes their grade is wrong, their centre can then submit an appeal to the exam board on their behalf. The exam board can confirm whether the grade is reasonable based on the evidence. If not, they will determine the alternative grade. An exam board will only revise a student’s grade where the evidence cannot reasonably support that grade, rather than as a result of marginal differences of opinion. Students should be aware that grades can go up or down as the result of an appeal." (See more here). If your child is disappointed with their results, but no error has been made in determining the grades, then they should consider the following two options.
  • The autumn exams. Your child can take formal exams to try for a better grade or grades. All students who receive a Teacher Assessed Grade in summer 2021 are eligible to take GCSE, AS or A level exams in the same subject this autumn. AS and A level exams will be held in October, while GCSE exams will take place in November and December. The exams regulator Ofqual has finalised decisions about the format of the autumn exams. More details can be found here.
  • Reconsider next steps. As well as the university or college clearing process, there is also the option to take stock and consider if their original plan was necessarily the one best-suited for their strengths. There are many vocational and technical qualifications that are available as an alternative to the route through academia, which provide young people with essential skills and a clear career pathway.
More information for parents and students



  • For parents and students in Wales, please see the information on the Qualifications Wales website

Northern Ireland:

  • For parents and students in Northern Ireland, please see the Q&A from CCEA, outlining the process
  • All the CCEA help and advice for parents and students in NI can be found here

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