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

Who has to retake the tests and what are your options?

George Ryan

Do you need to do a GCSE Maths and English resit if you do not get a grade 4 or above on results day and what happens next

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?

Register to continue reading for free

It only takes a moment and you'll get access to more news, plus courses, jobs and teaching resources tailored to you

Latest stories

A-level exams

A-level 2020: Autumn exam timetable

Students who are unhappy with their centre assessed A-level grades will be able to sit an examination in the Autumn. We have all the key dates and information
Grainne Hallahan 7 Aug 2020
Coronavirus schools

GCSE 2020: Autumn exam timetable

This year there will be an opportunity to resit GCSE exams in October. We have the key dates and essential information
Grainne Hallahan 7 Aug 2020
coronavirus live

Coronavirus and schools: LIVE 7/8

A one-stop shop for teachers who want to know what impact the outbreak of the virus will have on their working live
Tes Reporter 7 Aug 2020