GCSE results day 2020: All you need to know

When is GCSE results day? Find the key dates and information on what to do if your results aren’t what you expected

Tes Editorial

GCSE results day 2020: All you need to know

Due to the current pandemic, exams, results day and appeals have a different process this year. For more details, check out our article on What you need to know about GCSEs and A levels 2020.

WATCH: Key questions after the GCSE U-turn

On the 17 August the education secretary announced that GCSE and A-level  students in England will be given either their calculated grade awarded by the exam board, or their Centre Assessed Grade (CAG) whichever is the higher of the two.

Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have also announced they will now be using Centre Assessed Grades.

Students waiting for GCSE results should be able to see what their final grade is on results day as awarding bodies are sending out the higher of two grades they currently hold: the centre assessed grade and the calculated grade.

WATCH: Ofqual explain 2020 grading

For students all over the country, GCSE results day marks the culmination of years of study and weeks of revision. Although this year will be different due to the lack of examinations, it's still a huge day in the school calendar. 

This year, schools will not be judged on their GCSE results. This is because of the school closures that took place in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus. So for 2020 there will be no school performance data. However, from 2021, performance tables will be used again.

When is GCSE results day 2020?

GCSE results day this year is 20 August, in England and Wales.

National 5 results day is 4 August in Scotland. Click here for more details on the Scottish results day.

What time are the GCSE results released?

Usually, students will be able to collect their results from their school or college in the morning from 8am. Some schools may stagger this time, or email out results instead.

Find out how some schools will run their results day.

How can I follow GCSE results day 2020 on Tes?

We'll be following proceedings closely on the day so bookmark this page or check tes.com for updates. We'll also be covering results day on Twitter and Facebook

Guidance on socially distant GCSE results day

Updated Department for Education guidance sets out five main directions for schools to follow if they intend to have students on the premises on results day.

These directions include:

  • Ensuring that those who have symptoms of the coronavirus, or who have someone in their household who does, do not attend school.
  • Ensuring staff and students clean their hands more often than usual.
  • Ensuring good respiratory hygiene by promoting the "catch it, bin it, kill it" approach.
  • Cleaning frequently touched surfaces, often using standard products, such as detergents and bleach.
  • Minimising contact and mixing as far as possible, by keeping pupils in small, consistent groups – schools should aim to practise social distancing in line with current government guidance on social distancing.

You can read more about these guidelines here.

GCSE data release

Schools will be able to see GCSE exam results on most examining boards' systems by 19 August, but these are for heads and the exams officer only.

For more details about post-result analysis for your centre, please refer to the exam board website using the links below.


How will the 2020 GCSEs be calculated?

The 2020 GCSE grades will be calculated using two pieces of data provided to exam boards by schools and colleges. The centre assessment grade and the students rank order position will be combined to give an overall grade. The exam boards will then moderate this data using historical data from the school.

Centre assessment grade: this is the grade schools think students would have likely achieved if teaching, learning and exams had happened.

To arrive at a student’s centre assessment grade schools and colleges will consider things like classwork, homework, assignments, mock exams, coursework and general progress.

Schools do not need to submit any work or supporting evidence, but this might be required if exam boards have any queries.

Rank order position: this is the order of students by performance for each grade within each subject.

The rank order position will be used to standardise the judgements made when awarding the centre assessment grade across schools and colleges.

Find more tips and information about providing assessed grades.


Do schools share CAG and rank order with students?

You cannot share CAG and/or rank order with students before exam results have been released.

However, once exam results have been published, students may request subject access requests (SAR) for CAG and/or rank order information, after results day. 

Collecting GCSE results

Students will be able to collect their results from their school or college in the morning, usually from 8am.

It is advisable for students to bring with them any acceptance letters and the relevant contact details for any sixth form or college that they’re interested in attending, along with identification.

Those who are unable to collect their results in person can request in advance to receive them via email. These will be available from 8am. To receive your results via email, speak to your school or college.

This year students should check with their school or college on the exact procedure. There may be one-way systems, staggered collections or the requirement to wear a face covering. 

Understanding 9-1 GCSE grades

For the fourth year, the GCSEs will be graded from 9 to 1 rather than A* to G. Although it's difficult to map the two grading structures exactly, the Department for Education has issued the following table: 

GCSE table grades 9-1 explained

Find out more about the new grading system. 

The way schools are judged has also changed to rely less on the number of children reaching grade C or above.

Schools will use a system called Progress 8 to measure how much progress a student has made during their time at the school.

Find out more on the Progress 8 system.

What if the results aren’t what a student expected?

Due to the coronavirus, exams in the summer were cancelled and centre assessed grades were part of a process used to award students their grades. For students unhappy with their grades, there is an opportunity to sit GCSE exams in an Autumn series this November.

In previous years, if the student had a college or sixth-form place pending, you could request that the exam board complete a priority re-mark. However, for students receiving calculated grades, this will not be possible.

Also available in previous years, if the student did not have a college or sixth-form place pending, you could request a copy of the marked paper, or a clerical check, or a review of marking. You could also recall a paper to support teaching and learning.

To get in touch with the relevant exam board, use the links below:

Support phone lines

The department for education have provided an exam results helpline.

Telephone 0800 100 900


The Exam Results Helpline can provide information on appeals, complaints, or what a student might be able to do next after they have received their results.

Students can also contact Ofqual by telephone on 0300 303 3344.

Students can call this number if they want to find out more about how you were graded, the autumn exams series, how to make an appeal or raise a concern about bias or discrimination.

GCSE students in England and Wales can call a careers service helpline run by NiDirect, a government service on 0300 200 7820. It is open from 9.30am-4.30pm. You can also chat online or email via their website.

National 5 students in Scotland can call a separate helpline, 0808 100 8000. It is open 8am-8pm on results day and the following day.​

Students check their GCSE results

What happens if a student needs to retake an exam? 

Ordinarily, some resits would have taken place in November and these would have been restricted to entries for English language and maths.

However this year there will be an opportunity to take a "resit" GCSE exam in October. For more details, check out our article All GCSEs and A levels to be offered this autumn.

Alternatively, your earliest resit opportunity will be in June 2021, and you will also need to resit all written exams. It is always best to check with your school for exact resit options for your specific subject as these will differ between examining bodies.

Moving on to A levels

For many students, GCSE results day marks the end of one era and the beginning of the next. Entry into a FE college or sixth form means a step up in study and a whittling down of subjects taken.

Here Callum Jacobs looks at how to make the transition from GCSEs to A levels.

What if students miss out on the grades they need for their next step?

If a student has missed out on the grades that they needed to enrol on to the next course they had planned to do, the best course of action is to get in contact with the education provider (be that college, or sixth-form, etc) and inform them of what grades have been achieved, and if applicable, update them with the extenuating circumstances.

If the student has their offer withdrawn due to failure to secure their entry grades, then the student should contact other providers to see if they have spaces. Often, it is easier for the student to physically visit the sixth form or college they wish to apply to rather than calling or emailing due to the fact that during the holidays many education establishments will not be fully staffed.

Can students appeal GCSE grades?

This year students can appeal GCSE grades issued by the exam board for a specific set of reasons- such as administrative error, or a mistake that has been made in the calculation.

This year, grades cannot go down if the student is unsuccessful in their appeal. We are still awaiting details as to how appeals will work for students wishing to use their mock grades.

Our guide provides all the information on appeals.

Top tips for students collecting GCSE results

Not all schools will open for GCSE results for 2020. However, if students are going to school to collect their results, there are a few things that they might find helpful to have with them. These are:

  • Mobile phone
  • Pen/pencil
  • Notepad/writing paper
  • Money
  • College/sixth-form paperwork

It would be wise to check with your school what its social distance procedures are and if results collection is staggered. 

If students encounter any problems on the day, their teachers will be available to help.

Keep up to date with all the latest GCSE news, views and analysis on our GCSE hub

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