Three actions for businesses to take - GCSE grade changes

NEWS STORY – read more: OxLEP calls on businesses to take action as GCSE grade changes kick-in

The Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (OxLEP) is encouraging businesses to take action as young people – keen to secure apprenticeships and employment – get set to receive GCSEs, based on newly-introduced numerical grades.

Later this month, teenagers in England will no longer receive A* to G grades in English Language, English Literature and Maths and will now be graded from 9 to 1 – with 9 representing the highest possible grade.

Results from a recent OxLEP survey of the county’s business leaders suggests that 40 per cent are not aware of the Department for Education changes, introduced to give greater distinction to a student’s level of achievement.

For businesses looking to recruit ‘top-grade’ students to posts, apprenticeships or training schemes – the new system should give more of a distinction on a student’s level of achievement (i.e. someone previously scoring an A* may now score at best a ‘high’ 7)

Three actions for businesses to take:

1. If you’re recruiting young people in the coming weeks – update recruitment materials now:

There is an urgency for businesses in the process of recruiting – particularly those offering apprenticeships – to reflect these changes as soon as possible.

This is because many vacancies will be targeting students who have completed GCSEs in 2017 – therefore, their English and Maths grades will not relate to the previous grading system.

2. Understand the changes in full:

Oxfordshire businesses need to understand the grade changes and – in particular – the impact it will have on the standard of candidate that will be attracted to vacancies.

The new system will – broadly-speaking – mean the following:

  • A ‘low’ grade A now equals a grade 7
  • A ‘low’ grade C now equals a grade 4
  • A ‘low’ grade G now equals a grade 1

Use our ‘GCSE grade changes – what you need to know’ infographic (downloadable from the ‘Resources’ section – right) to help you understand how new grades align with old grades and where businesses should look to ‘pitch’ job roles in relation to the new system.

3. Link with an education provider:

It’s not just the grading system that’s being adapted, but also some subject syllabuses too.

By building relationships with education providers in your area, you can gain an understanding as to whether or not your vacancies are aligned with the key skills being taught at GCSE level.

The OxLEP Skills team can help to broker conversations between businesses and education providers, so please contact us.

This also includes support and advice on introducing apprenticeships and work experience opportunities within your business.

For more information on these changes – head to the Department for Education's website.