GCSE English and maths: do I need to resit them?

Who has to retake the tests and what are your options?
17th July 2019, 12:00am

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GCSE English and maths: do I need to resit them?

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When can I find out my GCSE results?

  • GCSE results day is on Thursday, 22 August 2019.

  • Students will be able to collect their results from their school or college in the morning. Please check with your college or school to find out about timings.

  • Here are some handy tips on what to do on results day.

Who has to do a GCSE maths and English resit?

  • Even if you are disappointed with your grade, you do not necessarily have to retake your GCSE in English or maths. Whether or not you have to resit the qualifications depends on your grades. Students aged 16-18, and those aged 19-25 with an education, health and care plan (EHCP), who do not hold a GCSE grade 9-4 (or A*-C) in either of the qualifications, must study English or maths. However, your options depend on the grade you have.

  • Full-time students with a grade 3 (or a D in the old-style GCSEs) in maths and/or English must resit their exams if they want to study at a school or college. Other qualifications such as functional skills cannot be taken as an alternative (although there’s nothing to stop them being taken alongside a GCSE).

  • Full-time students with a grade 2 or below (grade E or below, in the old-style GCSEs) - and part-time students who have a GCSE grade 3 (or grade D) - in maths and/or English can study either a GCSE or an approved stepping-stone qualification to meet the condition of funding.

Why do I need to resit?

  • The government says achieving a GCSE grade 9-4 or A*-C in both maths and English “helps students to progress to further study, training and skilled employment”.

  • It is a condition of funding for colleges, sixth forms and schools that students resit these qualifications if they do not have a grade 4 (or C) already. Educational institutions can have their funding cut if they do not meet this requirement.  

Where can I resit?

  • If you are enrolled on a level 3 course at a college, sixth form or school, you will be able to resit your GCSE English and maths exams there, or arrangements will be made to sit them at a partner institution.

  • Adults who do not hold a GCSE English or maths C grade (or grade 4 in the new-format exams) can resit their exams for free at their local college, even if they are not enrolled on another course.

When can I resit?

Can I do functional skills instead?

  • Full-time students with a GCSE grade 2 or below (or grade E or below) and part-time students who have a GCSE grade 3 (or grade D) in maths and/or English can study either a GCSE or an approved “stepping-stone qualification”, such as functional skills, to meet the Education and Skills Funding Agency’s condition of funding.

  • Students with special educational needs and/or disabilities can sit functional-skills exams instead if their educational establishment deems it appropriate, or an alternative lower-level qualification.

Will the GCSE resit requirement be scrapped?

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