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Grade Expectations For Cornish Students

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6:01am 22nd August 2013

Cornish students are picking up their GCSE results - but there is a warning grades are expected to fall.

It is because changes in the rules mean pupils will be marked down for bad spelling and grammar.

Attempts to "secure standards" along with changes to key GCSEs and moves by students to sit different exams could cause a drop in the pass rate for only the second time ever.

Last summer, the proportion of GCSEs awarded at least a C grade fell for the first time in the exam's history, with 69.4% getting this grade or higher - down 0.4% on 2011.

There was also a fall in the proportion of GCSEs awarded the top grades and drops in the percentage of English, maths and science GCSE entries achieving passes at A*-C.

For the first time youngsters will be forced to stay in education or training until they are seventeen.

Tyler is picking up her results in Redruth she said: "You panic sometimes or run out of time - so I guess, because I revised, I'll just have to rely on that."

Sally Humphries, Head of Sixth at Callington Community College, said: "Use the support at your school. We're there to support you, make sure you don't panic and ask you the right questions - and I'm sure every school in Cornwall will be doing the same."

What Happens Next?

There are many options available to youngsters and adults after getting their GCSE results, including A-Levels, vocational courses or apprenticeships.

If your results are not as good as you wanted you can also choose to resit individual units (although there are time limits). The awarding body will count the higher mark from your two attempts.

If you think something may have gone wrong with marking your exam, your school or college can ask for a re-mark or recount. You also have the right to request your marked exam script.  If you are still unhappy, your school or college can appeal to the awarding body, and then finally, if necessary, to the independent Examinations Appeals Board.

Below is a list of options of what to do once you have your GCSE results. You can choose to take up any of these options immediately or take a break from education and come back to it at a later date.


An A-Level is made up of an AS-Level qualification and an A2-Level qualification, both accounting for 50% of the overall A-Level.

Most people study 4 AS-Levels, then drop one course to have 3 A-Levels by the end of the two years.

You can study for A-Levels full or part-time and they are available in a wide range of courses from academic courses to more work related courses.  A range of courses will be available at your local schools or colleges, but not every A-Level course is held at every school or college, so find out before you apply.

An A-Level is a level 3 on the National Qualifications Framework. The framework shows how different types of qualifications compare. You can see more about the framework here.

In most cases, you need at least five GCSEs at grades A*-C. Sometimes, you need a grade B or above at GCSE in a particular subject to take it at AS or A level. Some schools and colleges also ask that you have GCSE grade C or above in English and maths. Always ask your local school or college what their requirements are for each course of A-Level you want to study.

For advice on AS, A levels and other qualifications for 13 to 19 year olds, contact the Careers Helpline for Young People: 080 800 13 2 19

Get advice about qualifications for adult learners from Next Step: 0800 100 900

Vocational Courses

Designed in partnership with employers and universities, the Diploma can lead on to further study or to work.

The Diploma involves practical, hands-on experience as well as classroom learning. It’s a combination aimed at encouraging students to develop work-relevant skills - along with their abilities in English, maths and ICT - in a creative and enjoyable way.

Students will be based in their own school or college, but may get the opportunity to learn in a different setting - another school, a local college, or in the workplace. They’ll get an insight into what work is really like, helping them make decisions about the future while keeping their career options open.

The Diploma is flexible, so students can combine it with A-Levels.


If you’ve got a good idea of where you want to go with your career and like the idea of earning while you learn, an Apprenticeship could be for you. You’ll get top quality training, developing skills and gaining qualifications on the job.

Apprenticeships are paid jobs which give you the chance to learn - and gain nationally recognised qualifications - while getting a weekly wage.

Apprenticeships are available in more than 190 roles across a wide variety of industry sectors. These range from accountancy and business administration to construction, engineering, manufacturing - and many more.

Generally, an Apprenticeship takes between one and four years to complete. For example, an Intermediate Level Apprenticeship in Engineering may take four years to complete.

Apprenticeships are available in almost 250 job roles across a wide variety of industry sectors. They range from accountancy and business administration to construction, engineering, manufacturing - and many more.

Apprenticeships (and Advanced Apprenticeships) can lead to:

  • a National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) at Level 2, Level 3, Level 4, Level 5
  • a Key Skills qualification, like problem solving and using technology
  • (in most cases) a technical certificate, such as a BTEC or City & Guilds Progression Award
  • other qualifications needed for particular occupations
  • for higher Apprenticeships knowledge-based qualification such as an HNC, HND or Foundation degree
6:01am 22nd August 2013

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