There could be more GCSE exam result appeals this year due to the new grading system.
  • 16th Aug 2018
  • Article written by Graham Jones
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This summer students will receive numerical grades from 1-9 rather than A-E across almost every subject following a shake-up of the system.

The new grading structure, which was introduced last year to maths, English Literature and English Language, was put in place to bring in more differentiation at the top end of the grading scale and to allow sixth forms, universities and employers to understand what level young people are working to.

Grade 4 is the equivalent to a grade C, while a grade 5 is around the same as a high grade C and close to a low B grade. Securing these grades in English and maths means a student will not be required to re-sit these qualifications, which was a stipulation brought in by the Government in 2015/16. If, however, a teenager receives a grade 3 they are expected to re-sit their GCSEs until they pass.

Every year I see a rise in the number of parents enquiring about the appeal procedure but this year I’m expecting to see those numbers go up further due to the new curriculum and the grade changes. This year’s cohorts are the guinea pigs in the new GCSE marking system Schools are as much in the dark as parents as they haven’t got previous years’ papers to refer to.

However, it is expected that results may dip meaning disgruntled parents will be looking at the exam board appeal procedure if the grade is not what their child was expecting.

For anyone who might be looking to raise concerns about their child’s grades, I would firstly advise parents to go through their child’s school or college and speak to the teacher or head of year as soon as possible after the results come out, they can provide guidance and support if they think the marking should be challenged. The school will have been monitoring your child and will have predicted grades for all subjects that will have been informed by mock exams and teacher assessment and these assessments should be moderated.

If the school are in agreement that there is an issue, they can put in place a referral to the exam board and will support it. This can have a number of stages from an initial request for a review of the marking or the board’s procedures and then on to a 2 stage appeal process which may include a remark. Your school can provide you with the full details.


However, if a parent is only looking to challenge the school with concerns about its teaching after results day, it really is too late. The school monitoring and reporting system should identify concerns long before exams are taken. That is why there are predicted grades. Parents have a responsibility to work with the school, not complain afterwards.

Pre exams, parents should raise issues and, if not dealt with, pursue through the school complaints system. All schools will have a published complaints policy and have to follow this and fully investigate any complaint.

Remember you do not challenge the school about grades you appeal to the exam board. You challenge the school about the quality of teaching and delivery of the curriculum.

If you need assistance contact Graham Jones regarding this issue