Good luck and congratulations to all those collecting their GCSE results today. It’s a very important day in your life and your journey, so try and soak up all the emotions you’re feeling – good or bad.

GCSE results day seems like a lifetime ago for me now, but I still remember feeling disappointed with my results. Even though I managed to get four A*s and two As, four Cs didn’t seem very impressive to me and I was a bit annoyed. But, looking back now, although just missing an A* in Geography and knowing that I could have tried more in Media for a sixth A* is a tad annoying, it doesn’t really bother me any more.

The truth about GCSE results is that, yes, they do matter. But they are not the be-all and end-all – that I promise you. They do not define you as an individual, just as A-Level results do not define you either. What defines you as a person is how you treat yourself and how you treat other people. Not how many A*s you managed to get.

So, my note for students today picking up GCSE results is this: well done, don’t panic, and good luck. Good luck for the next step of your lives because that is really what GCSEs are for – getting you to the next step. Sure, they help to make you look clever, but they aren’t as important as your A-Levels or extracurricular activities on your CV and UCAS application.


And, one more thing: don’t think that you have no options today if you haven’t done very well. There are plenty of options. College will take you if your sixth form won’t. You can re-sit maths and English and try harder next time. Apprenticeships are open – you don’t have to do A-Levels because they really aren’t for everyone. Take today to pause and think about your future because from here begins the rest of your life.

As Paddy McGuinness would say, the power is in your hands.