A Parents’ Guide to GCSEs

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GCSEs are studied by students as part of the National Curriculum between the ages of 14-16, when they are in years 10 and 11. Simply put, they are exams that have to be taken at the end of Key Stage 4, and can have a huge bearing on what a child’s does next in terms of their education and future career. A senior school in Hertfordshire have put together the following guide on GCSEs so that parents can understand them a little better. 

GCSEs are studied by students as part of the National Curriculum between the ages of 14-16, when they are in years 10 and 11. Simply put, they are exams that have to be taken at the end of Key Stage 4, and can have a huge bearing on what a child’s does next in terms of their education and future career. A senior school in Hertfordshire have put together the following guide on GCSEs so that parents can understand them a little better. 

Choosing GCSE Subjects

When your child is in Year 9, they will need to decide which subjects they’d like to study for their GCSEs. Some subjects are compulsory, such as English, maths and science, but others will be new to your child. You can help them choose their subjects by encouraging them to think about things like what they are good at, what their key skills are, and potentially even what they’d like to do as a job in the future. They might be keen to follow their friends and study the same thing so that they can be together, but this is a bad idea. If they choose a subject that doesn’t truly interest them just so that they can be with their friends, they are more likely to perform poorly. Schools tend to have different policies regarding the number of GCSEs students can take. This could be as many as 12 or as few as 7.

GCSE Grades

In years gone by, students were graded on a scale of A* to G, but nowadays there is a number scale to determine your child’s grade. Grade 9 is the highest and is the equivalent of an A*. Grade 4 is the equivalent to a C grade, which is also called a standard pass, and Grade 1 is between F and G. Most college courses will require students to receive at least 5 GCSE grades of 4 or above, but these will vary between colleges and the subjects themselves. Be sure to do your research so you understand what to expect of your child based on their next steps. 

If you require any additional information about GCSEs or how you can support your child, don’t hesitate to contact their school for some advice.

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