One of Sunderland's leading headteachers gives his top five tips for youngsters ahead of GCSE results day

During 17 years working as a teacher in secondary schools in my previous career, GCSE results day was often an emotional roller-coaster of delight and despair for pupils depending on their results.

Whatever the outcome, it is important for youngsters to have perspective that results day is not necessarily the life defining moment they perceive and whatever their results, while obviously important, they can still flourish and progress in their future careers.

The message not to panic was a sentiment shared with St Aidan’s Catholic Academy headteacher Glenn Sanderson.

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One of Sunderland’s most successful schools, Mr Sanderson has been offering advice to all students across the city with his top five tips ahead of tomorrow’s results day.

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1 Remarks

Students who are close to grade boundaries can apply to have their paper remarked. There is a fee, and there is also always a danger marks can be downgraded as well as increased which is why schools will only apply if they think there is a realistic chance of an improved grade.

Mr Sanderson said: “If you have not got the grades you hoped for then sit down with your teachers and look at how close you are to the grade boundaries and look at the option of submitting for a possible remark. This is certainly something we will be doing with our students. We only tend to do this if a student is between one and three marks out as historically the data shows beyond this there is little chance of the grade changing.”

St Aidan's Catholic Academy headteacher Glenn Sanderson has been giving his five top tips for youngsters ahead of GCSE results day.

2 Resits

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If students have not got the grades they hoped for in the core subjects of Maths and English they don’t have to wait until next summer to resit these exams.

Mr Sanderson said: “if you have not got the grades you want or need in Maths and English then there is the opportunity to resit these exams in November – you don’t need to wait until next year. If you have not done as well overall as you hoped or needed you can also resit other subjects next summer as part of your college or sixth form studies. Again speak with your teachers about resit options.”

3 Clarity

Sunderland youngsters are being urged not to panic and to communicate with schools and colleges ahead of GCSE results day. Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
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Results days are not just about collecting an envelope with your results enclosed. Teachers, including those responsible for the delivery of Careers, will be on hand to offer support and guidance.

Mr Sanderson said: “Speak with your teachers and careers adviser to get a clear idea of what you want to do, particularly if that may have changed due to your results. Get impartial advise on the courses out there, whether that be college, apprenticeships or sixth form, and have a clear idea on what to do on your next steps.”

4 Don’t panic and communicate

While college placements or studying certain subjects at A-Level may be offered based on achieving certain GCSE grades, there will often be some flexibility in these offers, including potentially combining A-Levels with some GCSE resits.

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Mr Sanderson said: “Don’t panic if you don’t get the grades you want and don’t just assume because you’ve fallen short of the required grades that you won’t get a place on the course. Speak to the colleges and sixth forms and you will often find there is some flexibility in getting on the courses where they will look at how you have done in all your subjects and the overall picture.”

5 Stay positive and sleep well

While it’s inevitable that students will be nervous and apprehensive about getting their results, worrying to the point of not sleeping is not going change the outcome. Students also need a clear head to weigh up and discuss their options the next day.

Mr Sanderson said: “It’s important to get a good night’s sleep and arrive in school positive the next day as there are always options whatever your results.”