A numerical system of 9-1 will replace the current system of A*- G. 9 will be the highest achievable grade (formerly A*) and 1 will be being the lowest. However, grade U will still be used for those who do not achieve the minimum requirements for grade 1.
Grade 5 will be considered a 'good pass'. Performance tables will focus on students achieving grades 9-5. Formerly, grade C was classes as a 'good pass', but the new grade 5 will be equivalent to a low B or a high C. As such, a 'good pass' mark will become harder to achieve than in the old system.
The new system has been designed to reveal differences between candidates at the higher end of the spectrum. The current top two grades, A* and A, will be replaced with three top grades, 9, 8 and 7. Some people are referring to grade 9 as A**. It is estimated that it will only be awarded to approximately the top 3% of GCSE students.
The new GCSEs are being introduced in three stages over three years. English and Maths this year and the rest will follow.
New GCSEs in Maths, English language, and English literature started being taught in September 2015. GCSE English no longer exists; all students must instead take GCSE English language. Most will also take English literature as a separate subject though it is not compulsory. New GCSEs in English Baccalaureate/main curriculum subjects such as sciences, languages, PE, history and geography were introduced in September 2016. New GCSEs in all other subjects such as economics and media studies will be taught from September 2017.
2016/17 year 11 students are sitting new GCSEs in Maths, English language and English literature only. They will still be awarded 'old-style' GCSE grades in all other subjects. However, current year 10 students will take new GCSEs in most subjects. They may still be on an 'old-style' syllabus if they opt for a more unusual subject. Students who are currently in year 9 or below will take new GCSEs in all subjects.
Will they be more difficult?
The course content will be more demanding across all subjects. In English language, for example, students will be required to read a greater range of challenging material.
The majority of subjects will be assessed solely through exams taken at the end of two years of study.
For most courses, all students will sit the same paper instead of opting for a foundation or higher paper according to their ability. The main exception to this is maths, although it is worth noting that a lot of content previously only included in the maths higher paper will now also be tested at foundation level. November resits will only be available in Maths and English language. Alternative qualifications such as IGCSEs (International GCSEs) will no longer be an alternative.
Worried in case you don’t get the grades?
If you, or a friend, don’t get the desired grades, don’t panic. Colleges, including Stanmore College, offer a wide range of vocational study programmes across all levels and Stanmore offers a GCSE resit programme. By applying online and attending an interview you are likely to receive a conditional offer and, should you not meet the entry requirements, an alternative study programme can be discussed when you are invited to enrolment. BTEC students who achieve good grades are just as sought after as A level students with good results. These programmes can lead to employment, apprenticeships or university.
Did you know that:
95% of universities and colleges in the UK accept BTEC students
This includes many competitive universities from the Russell Group (a group of universities with a shared focus on reputation, academic achievement and research).
YES! More than 100,000 BTEC students apply to UK universities each year. There are two pathways from which BTECs can help students progress to university degrees:
• BTEC level 3 – equivalent of studying A-levels and provides access to a degree programme in the first year.
• BTEC level 4 HNC and level 5 HND – can provide access to degree programmes in the second or even the final year of a course.
Points to note:
• BTEC students who achieve good grades are just as sought after as A level students with good results.
• BTEC students have experience of real-life practical tasks and work placements which provides an advantage. These work placements enhance UCAS applications to many higher level courses; practical experience stands for a lot.
• If you know what degree you would like to do to reach your chosen career, why not check out the entry requirements on the university websites for the course(s) you are interested in. At Stanmore College we have careers staff who would be happy to help you if you need it, even if you are not yet a Stanmore College student!
• Entry criteria can vary from university to university so it is a good idea to check if you are unclear.
• If you have studied a BTEC in one subject area you can still apply for a different subject at university e.g. studying a BTEC in Science could lead to a degree in chemistry, biochemistry, nursing, psychology, social work, food science or zoology to name but a few examples.
Did you know:
95% of universities and colleges in the UK accept BTEC students. This includes many competitive universities from the Russell Group (a group of universities with a shared focus on reputation, academic achievement and research).
Wednesday, 10th May saw a group of students from Greece, accompanied by their teachers, visit Stanmore College where Stanmore’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) students worked with them to introduce them to a variety of experiments using equipment at the College that is not available for the students use in Greece.
Stanmore STEM student ambassador, Aneesh Mistry, enjoyed being on hand with teachers and visitors to explain the nature of the practicals being undertaken throughout the process.
One of the teachers from Greece who accompanied the young STEM students told us: ‘the visit was a unique experience for our students who attended and participated in a well prepared science laboratory experiment. Thank you very much! Hospitable and friendly students and teachers indeed.
In the first instance, deciding to study a STEM course is, in itself, spot-on. In a world that’s becoming increasingly complex, where success is driven not only by what you know, but by what you can do with that knowledge, it’s more important than ever for learners to leave College equipped with the qualifications and practical skills to be at the forefront of STEM innovation.
Why take this route?
• At the professional level there will be an increasing demand from science industries over the next 10 years for individuals educated to degree and postgraduate level.
• Research from Engineering UK suggests that 182,000 additional workers are needed i.e. engineering-focussed graduates and apprentice positions every year until 2022.
• Greater London and Harrow have more STEM jobs than England and Wales overall in all the categories apart from STEM supporting occupations.
• Science industries will need to recruit significantly more science apprentices to meet workforce demand over the next 10 years.
• The UK’s digital economy is recognised as one of the strongest globally.
With an array of vocational study programmes available at Stanmore College, from Accounting to Biomedical Science, the STEM HUB engages and empowers learners through bespoke education for success as life-long learners in the STEM sector.
Not sure about whether you have the right grades? The College offers vocational programmes from level 1 to 3. For older learners, there are a number of pre-access and access course options. At Stanmore, there is a 95% pass rate for STEM Hub courses and learner outcomes are very good. To find out more about course options click here or call 0208 420 7700.
Stanmore College has been invited to play in the Under 19’s Albufeira summer cup 2017 in Algarve, Portugal.
In June, 15 players will represent the College for the tournament that will take place over 4 days. The College has previously participated in this tournament and won it back in 2014. The team consists of students from L1, L2 and L3 sport as well as L3 business. The College will play against 1st division Portuguese academies. During the four days, students will have an opportunity to experience a different culture.
The players have paid £600 for the trip and will be hosting a number of fund-raising events in order to buy a training kit and cover additional costs while they are in Portugal. The fund-raising events include:
Charity 5k run
We wish the students the best of luck!
The grades/qualifications your child achieves will determine what he/she does next in life. You will want your child to achieve the best that they can. There are a number of things that you, as a parent, can do to help your son/daughter to be as prepared as possible.
It’s not about experience, qualifications or money; you are the best person to coach your child (whether you like it or not!). Parental support is eight times more important in determining a child’s academic success than social class according to a study by The Campaign for Learning. One of the biggest barriers to learning is feeling that you can’t do something. The study also found that parental involvement in a young person’s education can mean the difference between an A* and an ‘also-ran’ at GCSE.
The good news is that you don’t need to be an expert in any of the subjects your child chooses to make a difference. You also don’t need to give up your other responsibilities – you just need to know how best to spend the time you do have to support him/her.
So how can you help?
The most important role you will play is that of the person who will support your son/daughter through the exams and remain proud of them whatever happens. Your role may also include some or all of the following:
• Make sure your child attends school/college on time every day and remind them of the importance of focusing and making the most of every lesson. There is a link between attendance, punctuality and results.
• Help your child to make a study/revision timetable which includes the dates and times of examinations and any controlled assessments. This can be used to plan revision sessions which should be spread out evenly to break them up into manageable bite sized chunks to prevent your child from feeling too stressed.
• Display the timetable in a prominent place and help your child to stick to it. However, be flexible – use the 80/20 rule. If your child is sticking to what they are supposed to be doing 80% of the time, they will be doing alright.
• Provide a quiet and well lit space for study and provide pens, paper and other necessities.
• Show an interest in the subjects, helping with homework (but not doing it for them), and testing them to check if they remember what they’ve studied. Celebrate achievements and remain positive when things go wrong!
• Be prepared to act as a go-between for your child and the school/college as necessary to help ensure problems are addressed quickly.
• Help your child to find copies of old exam papers, search websites, find out about exam structures and content.
• Ask to see your child’s revision notes and encourage him/her to attend any revision sessions offered by the school/college.
• You can buy revision guides to help them study. Make sure your child knows which exam board and syllabus have been followed for each subject.
• Recognise the importance of exams and the preparation time needed to do as well and possible and reward your child’s efforts to revise.
• Reduce the number of chores that they have to do when exams start.
• Make sure the whole family respects the importance of keeping disturbances to a minimum.
• Be sensitive to the pressure and stress that your teenager may be experiencing and give them an opportunity to talk to you about it.
• Remind your child that they should not be influenced by friends who talk about how little work they are doing – your child’s results don’t matter to their friends but are crucial for your child’s future.
• Make time for exercise and recreation.
• Help them to keep things in perspective.
• Respect their growing independence; ask them how you can best support them.
20% of what you READ only
30% of what you HEAR only
40% of what you SEE only
50% of what you SAY only
60% of what you DO only
90% of what you learn with many sensory learning activities READ, HEAR, SEE, SAY and DO
Young people differ in their levels of maturity, their ability to take responsibility for their learning, organisational skills and levels of motivation. This is where parents come in. Your support, encouragement and interest can make a spectacular difference to your child’s motivation and ability to cope with the academic and organisational demands of the exam period.
Getting the better of exam time and end of year deadlines
This week marks MHAW17- a national campaign run by the Mental Health Foundation to help raise awareness of mental health issues. If someone told you they were enthused about their upcoming exams and could not wait for them to start, you may just regard them with raised eyebrows.
More often than not, stress is likely to creep up during this time and can sometimes manifest itself in mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. Some students find the pressure of examinations and coursework more challenging than others. Having a quick chat about feelings and emotions can help.
Exam stress can start when you feel you can’t cope with revision and/or coursework, or feel pressure from your College or family. Similarly, it can be scary to talk about stress or anxiety.
Although the College has celebrated outstanding achievements by many past and present students and understands that this is the culmination of hard work and determination from the students, Stanmore knows that the journey they sailed through wasn’t easy.
At Stanmore, Student Services offers a free and confidential counselling service for all students. Students can self-refer or may be referred by their personal tutors or subject tutors. The service provides a quiet and safe place where students can talk to a qualified counsellor about any issues concerning them. The Counsellor sees students with a wide range of issues such as stress, anxiety, low mood, depression, eating disorders and many others.
Students can approach someone in the following ways:
Ø Go to Student Services or Mentor room located in the Oak building.
Ø They can fill in a ‘chat card and put it in the chat box in Students Services, Learning Centre or Social Learning Centre and someone contacts them back.
Externally, students can contact:
Ø Childline- 0800 1111
Ø Samaritans- 116 123
Stanmore College wishes the best to all students studying for their exams and end of year projects, and looks forward to hearing stories of their outstanding success.
With exam pressure looming there is little time to think about tuition fees if you want to go to university. That’s why we’ve prepared this quick blog to give you some ideas on how you can pay your way.
With this year’s graduates owing an average of £41,000 when they start repaying maintenance and tuition loans, many young people contemplating a degree may feel that it is just too costly. Tuition fees on average for three years cost in the region of £18,000. There has also been talk of tuition fees rising again for some universities. That’s why we wanted to ensure that young people are aware that there are other ways to get a degree and not accrue depressing debt levels.
So what are these other ways you may ask?
1. Well, firstly, have you considered trying to find a company who will pay for your degree? It may sound unlikely to you in the first instance but there are schemes which offer undergraduates a salary and cover tuition fees. Students are also offered jobs on graduation. These are called Sponsored Degrees. Some of these programmes are changing and are being called Higher or Degree Apprenticeships. Organisations that get involved in these include Barclays, Capgemini, CGI, Experian, KPMG, MBDA, Morrisons, Nestle, PWC and Airbus among others and you can find out more about this option at www.thescholarshiphub.org.uk/blog/sponsored-degrees-uk and by searching online.
Many universities are working in collaboration with businesses to offer apprenticeships covering a variety of roles in industries. You can find out more about these at www.thestudentroom.co.uk under ‘Apprenticeship Zone’.
2. Secondly, what about a full fee scholarship? There might not be as many but it may be worth checking out scholarship-search.org.uk
3. Thirdly, crowdfunding is certainly not an easy option though it is an interesting way to pay your fees. It would mean you are relying on the generosity of others. You can find out more about this at www.savethestudent.org
4. Finally, studying abroad used to be quite a good option and usually did cost less, however with Brexit on the horizon this may not be the case for much longer.
The websites referred to above also contain information relating to the Tuition Fee Loan, Student Finance England, making money, student jobs, accommodation, student bills and deals.
Are all fees going up?
Some universities are advertising fees of £9,250, but some may decide to charge the new maximum – it depends on your university so make sure you check their website for info.
Can a vocational study programme at College see you through to university or a Higher Apprenticeship?
- Confused about the new GCSE grading system?
- Can you get into university if you study a BTEC?
- Stanmore STEM student ambassadors impress Greek guests
- Thinking of going the vocational way for a career in STEM?
- Sport students set to take on Portugal in Summer Tournament
- Exam tips- How parents can help
- Mental Health Awareness Week 8th-14th May
- Fund your Degree for FREE!
- Level 3 Engineering students tour the Royal Air Force Museum
- STEM delivers spectacular Science show for Glebe Primary School