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Options Students Can Take After Their GCSEs

This August, students across England, Wales, and Northern Ireland will find out their GCSE results. Just last year, Ofqual received nearly 5 million teacher-assessed GCSE grades. Because it is an exam taken at the end of compulsory education, it is an important stepping stone for employment or higher education opportunities. Whilst the standard English, Science, and Maths must be taken up, there is a range of other subjects a student can also choose to study. Some of these courses can be practical and hands-on, while others are more academic. The goal is for the student to find something to suit their interests and future goals.

Many options are open for a student after taking the exam, and this is an excellent place to start to see which could work for you. Here are some choices you can make after you take your GCSEs:

students A level

Continue on to higher education

If a student chooses to pursue higher education after taking their GCSEs, they must focus on A-level subject choices. This is the most common choice made by students across the country. To get into the top 24 universities in the UK, also known as the Russell Group, successful applicants must taken A-level subjects specific to their degree course and score very highly (typically AAA). A-levels are the first time that students get to make a choice that will affect their career path, which is why it is important to choose carefully.

Take an internship

An internship is a way to pursue work and study simultaneously after taking your GCSEs. There are job opportunities that allow you to learn at the same time. To find a suitable option you can look through the job search tips on LHH for first-timers, where, for one, they suggest taking advantage of job boards that advertise specific industries such as human resources. You can also look into general job boards that announce vacancies for a wide range of positions as soon as they open. You should also tap into your network to see if there are ongoing vacancies you can try applying for. LHH advises that your first step, after taking your GCSEs, should be to create a career plan to narrow your selection and keep your job search focused.

Pursue a vocational track

For many, a vocational track will be an apprenticeship, where you can spend some time learning about theory and gaining practical experience in a controlled working environment. Our “Continual Professional Development” post highlighted the opportunities presented by EdTech for professional learning to occur on an on-demand basis. In fact, the BBC reports that this opportunity was tapped by the government when they launched the T Levels in September 2020. Pursuing a vocational track will introduce you to T Level programmes which include built-in teaching time. These programmes feature courses developed in collaboration with both employers and education providers. Through evolving technology and novel training methods, the T levels will prepare students to enter skilled employment or technical study through higher education.

Your GCSE results can certainly guide you towards many different opportunities that you can take. Although the results can be a good indicator of your aptitude, your interest is also a primary consideration. Whether you pursue a vocational track, internship, or higher education, you can undoubtedly set yourself up for success.

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The author

Alyssa Fendley is a writer and educator specializing in basic education. She is also an advocate for diversity and inclusion in learning spaces across the United Kingdom.

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