New GCSE Grading System Explained

02 May 2018 | English & Maths, Help & Advice

The new GCSE grading system is designed to ‘better prepare’ teenagers for work or university and it is hoped will bring England’s education up to the standards of other countries. But what does this actually mean for those busily preparing for their exams and their anxious parents?

Gone are the familiar As, Bs and Cs, replaced with numbers one to nine. But when a number one student is expected to achieve a score of nine, how can parents track their child’s progress?

We spoke to English and maths specialist Nadia McCusker, Director of English and Maths at City College to help explain the new grading system: “GCSEs are now graded from 9 to 1, as opposed to the old A* to G grades. The confusion comes because the new numeric grades do not directly correspond to the old letter grading system. Grades 9, 8 and 7, correspond to the top grades and enable more differentiation at the top end of the scale. A C grade which was seen as a ‘good pass’ has now been split in half. A C will now be graded as a ‘standard pass’ (grade 4) or a ‘strong pass’ (grade 5).

“The bottom line is that everybody needs to achieve a grade 4 in order to pass, as good numeracy and literacy skills are vital in any workplace. No matter what career you choose, English and maths will affect your day-to-day tasks so having a basic understanding is incredibly important.

“Here at the College we embed English and maths into every course, and if you don’t achieve the necessary 4s, do not panic. You can still pursue your dream career while gaining your qualifications and study these subjects alongside your course – adults may even be eligible to brush up on these core skills for free!”

The College’s Drop-in event on Wednesday 16 May, 4.30pm to 6.30pm is a great opportunity to find out about the full range of courses on offer. Visit or call 01752 305300 for more information.

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