Thursday 24th August 2017. The moment of truth. Parents, teachers and most importantly students will be waiting in anticipation to see the numerical fruits of their labour – their GCSE results.

What do I need to know?

This year has the added surprise factor as certain subjects will not receive A*- G but instead will be assessed by the new 9-1 grading scale. A majority of sixth form and colleges will have specific grade criteria for particular subjects in order to guarantee your place. Be aware of what these are before you go and collect your grades. You have the option to collect a hard copy of your results from your school in person. Do not worry if you cannot be there physically, you should set up for your school to email, post them or give them to a friend or family member.

Everyone wants to see big grins, tears of joy, hugs and celebratory dances. For some this will be the case, for some it will not. This is not pessimism or condemnation for not working hard enough. This is reality. We all know that grades do not always capture the full story.

Your options

You can usually resit English and Maths in November without interrupting your first year of sixth form/college. You must be 16 on or before 31st August to be eligible to resit. You can get your paper remarked at a cost or you can communicate with your prospective sixth form/college and see if they will still accept you on the course, or offer you a different subject. Why not try another sixth form/college? Have these numbers ready to call and speak to your teachers or exam administrators who are all there to help.

You may decide sixth form/college is not for you, look into vocational qualification or apprenticeships – these are credible, viable options. Apprenticeships give many the best of both worlds by combining practical training in a job with study. You simply have to be 16 or over (by the end of the summer holidays), living in England and not in full time education to apply.

There are also government bursary funds that can help you cover education-related costs if you are going to be on a training course or doing unpaid work experience, for example. These are supposed to help 16-19 year olds cover the costs of things like books, equipment and transport. It is worth checking if you are eligible for any of these.

Overall

The best you can do is be prepared, be positive, be proactive and be proud of yourself. There are plenty of options available to you and no need to panic! No matter what your results, explore these options and make an informed decision that is best for you.