'It's like they WANT me to fail': Tension rises for GCSE students

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Pupils are sharing their collective anxiety on social media and posting comedy memes as they await what could be the toughest GCSE results day to date. 

Half a million 16-year-olds will find out at around 10am today how they got on after becoming the first year-group whose exams were almost all in the tougher new format.

The content has been made more challenging, with less coursework, and exams at the end of the two-year courses, rather than throughout. 

The new 9-1 grading system replaces A* to E and allows greater differentiation between grades. It means it is harder to score a clean sweep of the highest possible grades.  

But one student posted on Twitter: 'What the f*** is up with these grade boundaries, its like they don#t want me to pass.'

Another tweeted an image of a confused man and a mathematical equation and wrote: 'Why tf is the English lit boundaries so bloody high??'

Head teachers have warned parents not to make their children feel like 'failures' if they miss out on all grade 9s – with less than 0.2 per cent expected to achieve this.

And teaching unions said low-ability pupils were so 'demoralised' by the new exams this year that some refused to sit them.  

Here we look at just some of the memes and images flooding the internet just hours before the results are announced:  












GCSE pupils in England await exams results after 'tougher' new 1-9 grading system was rolled out to subjects this year spelling end of A*- G

by Amie Gordon

Tough new GCSEs are 'demoralising' for lower-achieving students, headteachers have warned ahead of results day tomorrow. 

Teenagers across England, Wales and Northern Ireland are preparing to pick up their GCSE results on Thursday.

Under the biggest shake-up of exams in England for a generation, GCSEs have been toughened up, with less coursework, and exams at the end of the two-year courses, rather than throughout.

In England, traditional A*-G grades have been scrapped and replaced with a 9-1 system, with 9 the highest result.

A 4 is broadly equivalent to a C grade, and a 7 broadly equivalent to an A. 

Students sitting their GCSE mock exams in Brighton, East Sussex

Students sitting their GCSE mock exams in Brighton, East Sussex


The number of entries for GCSE religious studies has soared in the last decade, driven by young people's increasing interest in 'exploring world views', it has been suggested.

Last year, there were more than a quarter of a million entries for the subject, up around 42% on 10 years ago, according to analysis of exam figures. 

The analysis of annual UK figures shows how the most popular GCSE subjects have changed between 2008 and 2018. 

History and geography have both grown in popularity - this is in part likely to be driven by the English Baccalaureate, a government benchmark which recognises youngsters who take one of these two subjects along with English, maths, science and a language.

French and design and technology have both fallen in popularity, but Spanish and art and design subjects have now entered the top 10.

Drama has fallen out of the 10 most popular subjects.

This analysis excludes maths, English and science, which are taken in some form by all pupils.

Religious studies has moved from fifth most popular 10 years ago, with 179,139 entries, to third last year, with 253,618 entries.    

The most popular subject in 2008 was design and technology, with 332,787 entries.

By last year, it had dropped to fifth with 127,232 entries - a fall of 62%.

At the same time, art and design subjects entered the top 10 last year in fourth place, with 178,891 entries.

Drama was seventh most popular 10 years ago, but has now dropped out of the top 10.  

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Figures published by exams regulator Ofqual in May suggest an increase in entries for arts and design subjects this summer compared with last year.

History and geography have risen from second and third most popular in 2008 to first and second respectively last year.

And while French was the fourth most popular option in 2008, with 201,940 entries, it has fallen to sixth, with entries down 37% to 126,750.

But Spanish is rising in popularity, and was the eighth most popular subject last year, with 95,080 entries.

Ofqual's figures indicate there has been a 4% increase in modern foreign language entries this summer. 

Eight in 10 school leaders believe the reformed courses are having a detrimental effect on struggling students.

And a similar proportion are concerned that they are causing higher levels of student stress.

Ahead of results day, the Association of School and College Leaders said it is concerned that the overhaul has 'sacrificed the interests' of the most vulnerable students for the 'supposed benefits of raising the bar for the most able'.

A survey of more than 500 ASCL members in England, found that virtually all (98%) think the new GCSEs are more difficult than the old courses.

The most commonly given reason for the increased difficulty was that the GCSEs now contain more content, followed by students having to remember more, and harder exam questions.

The majority of those questioned - 80% - believe that students with lower prior attainment are detrimentally affected by the new courses, while 79% said the GCSEs are causing higher levels of student stress.

One assistant headteacher told the union: 'These have been designed without a thought for low prior attaining or SEN students. 

'I cannot think of anything more dispiriting than going through school thinking every day 'I cannot do this' - but that is the reality for many students.'

Another school leader said: 'A large proportion of students are being failed by the new GCSEs.

'Not everyone is suited to them and, while they may be a good

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