By Totton College

in Education

Top tips from our principal

Hundreds of learners across the south returned to their schools today to collect their GCSE results. The day can make or break futures, and is a nerve-wracking time for learners and parents/carers alike.

For many it is exciting and joyous, receiving confirmation that all those hours studying and revising have paid off. For others, gaining results that fall short of expected or predicted grades can leave youngsters feeling uncertain and negative about their future.

Derek Headrige, principal, says: “The most important thing is not to bury your head in the sand. Learners falling short on their GCSE results should remember that exam results are important, but they don’t stand alone. Many colleges are impressed by applicants who show they have pro-actively taken part in extra-curricular activity or gained relevant work experience. Therefore learners should now seek advice and do everything possible to ensure they fulfil their potential.

“At Totton College we ensure those with a talent or passion for a particular subject should have access to courses even if they don’t achieve grade 4 in English and maths. We overcome this by embedding the teaching of these core subjects into our vocational courses. Therefore learning and progress is incorporated into everyday lessons.”

Derek’s top ten tips:

  1. Don’t panic – take some time to consider your options.
  2. Talk with your school or college – most will have a careers advisors who are well placed to provide advice and guidance.
  3. Don’t compare – you are not competing with friends or older siblings. Your grades are individual to you and help ensure your chosen further education path is suited to your level and method of learning. Take into account that the new 9-1 grade structure which means that fewer students will achieve the top marks compared to the A*-E grades.
  4. Remarking your exam paper – this could be an option if you think there may have been a marking error. However, this can be expensive and marks can go down as well as up, so talk with a relevant teacher at your school before you make any decisions.
  5. Resits – if you have your heart set on a particular Level 3 study programme that has strict entry criteria that you do not meet such as A-levels or a vocational course, then consider the possibility of taking a year to study a Level 2 study programme. This will also allow you to continue your GSCE studies and retake exams enabling progression to Level 3 the following year.
  6. English and maths – if you haven’t achieved grade 4 in English and maths, make sure you chose a college which has a proven track record of delivering these core GCSE subjects as part of the study programme or apprenticeship.
  7. Talk with the college – if you haven’t achieved the entry requirements for your chosen course, check in with the college as some may still allow you to enrol. Alternatively they may have another suitable course for you.
  8. Talk with other colleges – if your chosen college has strict entry criteria with no room for manoeuvre, call other colleges as they may offer more tailored course pathways.
  9. Consider alternatives – apprenticeships and traineeships can offer the opportunity to earn while you learn, which provides the best of both worlds for many. See for further information.
  10. Keep an open mind – consider all your options. Talk with as many supportive people including parents / carers, other family members, careers advisors, school teachers and colleges as you can.

Derek concludes: “GCSE results day can be a stressful time if the results aren’t as expected, but it is important to remember there’s more than one road to the same destination. Sometimes a different route can reap additional benefits.”

Totton College is enrolling new students until the beginning of September. Find out more about our courses or call one of the college’s course advisers on 023 8087 4874.