This summer, the first GCSE exams following the grade reforms will be taking place. The new GCSE grading scheme is part and parcel of a new curriculum which was introduced in England’s schools in 2014 by the then Education Secretary Michael Gove.

With uncertainty in the air and reports that many still don’t understand what the reform means, we’ve compiled the below list of useful resources to help get your head around the 9-1 grade changes.

1. OFQUAL Postcards

Setting standards for new GCSEs in 2017

Not to be outshone by other guides, Ofqual has put together a series of postcards to help explain the reforms. The postcards break away from the traditional government talk with the use of listicles, annotation and flow charts, making them easy to read.

2. BBC Education

The new GCSE grades explained

As teachers express concerns about the way in which new GCSEs in England are being graded, BBC Education has put together a seven part Q&A explaining the new 9-1 grade system, including quotes from education secretary Justine Greening and watchdog Ofqual.

3. AQA

Changes to GCSE, AS and A-levels

AQA has created a specific area on their website containing timelines, Q&A’s and the background to why the reforms are happening. The guides are pitched to those who work within education and include attention-grabbing animations.

4. Mumsnet

New GCSEs explained

Although mumsnet might not be the first place you would think of to look for advice on the new GCSE grading system, their easy-to-read guide and opinions from parents gives a balanced view of what the changes mean. It also has a reassuringly open forum where members express their hopes and concerns around the new system.


General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) graded 9 – 1. Ofqual accredited

One of the biggest fears around the reform is what impact it might have on a student’s opportunities in further and higher education. UCAS has put together this clear ‘who, what, where and when?’ breakdown of the reforms to allow for some clarification. Where the previous guides may be more in depth, UCAS highlights what the changes could mean later down the line, including links to some of the main exam boards in the UK.