Your GCSE results are some of the most important exam results you’ll receive. You can use them to move onto A-Levels and eventually higher education, or you can use them to get straight into employment. That’s why schools and exam boards across the UK keep the records of every student who has sat GCSEs past a certain point. The big question is, do your GCSE results really stay on record forever? Or will they eventually be wiped from the system?
In short, GCSEs are valid and held on record for life. Schools are required to keep GCSE certificates for at least 12 months after having received them from the exam boards – they may or may not decide to keep the results after this period is over. Exam boards generally keep a record of GCSE results going a long time back – practically forever – so it is even possible to trace the results of people who sat their exams decades ago. Due to this, employers can check your GCSE results long after you have sat them. However, GCSEs start to lose their value as you get older, so it is unlikely that employers will be too focused on them.
Don’t worry if you’re still confused on how long your GCSEs will be kept on record for. This article will explain all you need to know!
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How long do schools keep GCSE results?
After you’ve received your GCSE certificates, it’s stressed that you should keep hold of them for the rest of your life, and this is definitely true! However, how long do schools keep a record of your results?
Schools receive GCSE results on results day in August – and the certificates from exam boards about 2-3 months after that – and they are required to retain them for at least 12 months. More information about this can be found on the Cherwell College website, linked here.
After the period of a year is over, schools have an option to either send them back to the exam board or destroy them completely. This is only if they have not been picked up by the student that they belong to, as stated here on the Assessment and Qualifications Alliance (AQA) website.
However, some schools may keep the certificates for a little (or a lot) longer than a year. Of course, this varies greatly from school to school. They may keep the results stored on a computer database for far longer than 12 months, but again, this can differ from school to school.
If you would like to know more about how long schools keep GCSE certificates, I would recommend checking out this Think Student article.
How long do exam boards keep a student’s GCSE results?
When your GCSE results have been verified, the exam board will put them on record and send the certificates to your school. Despite sending the certificates to you, they always keep copies of the results safely recorded on their database.
They are generally kept for a lifetime – so their records go back a long way. The results can be found by simply contacting the exam board itself. It is even possible to find your results with the correct exam board from as far back as the 1980s!
The government website has a page, linked here, with an outline of the process you need to follow to access old GCSE results. This is how we know that exam boards keep permanent records of results!
This does mean that you don’t have to worry too much about your results being lost forever, even if you don’t have the certificates! However, keep in mind that getting your results from exam boards can sometimes be a long process, and it’s much easier to keep your certificates safe.
Can employers view old GCSE results?
GCSEs remain valid throughout your entire life. You can be asked about your GCSE grades at any stage of your career by any employer or organisation. This Think Student article has more information about employers and GCSE results.
Employers can verify your GCSE results at any point by contacting your old school or the relevant exam board. They may also ask you to provide your grades (and the evidence of them!) when you apply for a job.
However, they are more likely to do this if you are applying shortly after your GCSEs or A-levels. Exam results are much more relevant closer to the actual exam sitting than later on.
For example, employers at your first job may take a close look at your GCSE results, but a decade later, they may prefer to hire you based on your higher qualifications and work experience.
If you would like to read more about how important GCSEs are to employers and institutions of further education, I would recommend that you read this Think Student article.
If you are applying for a job decades after your GCSEs, employers may not feel the need to check your results. In such cases, it is not uncommon for them to request evidence of recent learning.
Sometimes, they will ask you to do a short test to show you are still as capable as you were 20 or so years ago. It all depends on what you are applying for. Of course, it cannot be guaranteed that you will not need evidence of your GCSE grades. It is always best to keep your GCSE certificates safe!
Can employers view GCSE results from 20 years ago?
Yes, employers can view GCSE results from 20 years ago. As mentioned above, your employers can access your GCSE results by contacting the relevant exam boards, if you cannot provide them.
The process may take a long time, so employers may not put that much effort into results that are that old, but regardless, they will be able to access them if they want to.
Who can access old GCSE results?
If you’re applying to access your old GCSE results, only you and the exam board(s) you sat your exams for can access your information.
On AQA’s website, they state that you will need to know the exam board you received your results from, as well as proof of your identity, to be able to apply for past exam results. You can read more about this here.
This means only someone with this information can apply for your past results, so it’s pretty likely that it’s only you who’ll be able to access your results!
Are your GCSE results available to the public, employers, police, and other authorities?
No, this information is not available to the public. It can only be accessed by someone who knows the information I listed above, so it’s highly unlikely that a member of the public would know that.
Employers are able to access your GCSE results, but you will most likely be asked to provide it yourself first before they try to access it. However, they are able to contact the exam boards to access this information if you can’t provide it, providing it’s relevant (e.g., if you don’t have any other major qualifications).
In terms of applying to the police force, they will be able to access your GCSEs for your application. However, for any other situation, your GCSEs probably aren’t relevant enough to need access.
How do you retrieve old GCSE results?
Your results will still be on record somewhere – it is just a matter of finding them! If you are unfortunate enough to have lost your GCSE certificates, or never collected them in the first place, do not worry – all is not lost! If you need to recover your results, or proof of them, there are several ways that you can go about this.
Firstly, you can try contacting your old school for your GCSE results – or the certificates if you have not collected them.
Unfortunately, there is only a slim chance that they still have either the results or the certificates if you hadn’t collected them within the year, you sat your GCSEs. That is why this method very rarely proves to be fruitful.
Another option is to contact the exam board that you sat your exams with. Since exam boards keep a record of all GCSE results, they can provide you with a Certified Statement of Results (since your certificates cannot be replaced, you just receive your results).
There will be, however, a cost for this and the process can be very tedious. It is also something that cannot be left to the last minute, as it can take a significant amount of time for the exam boards to process your request.
For further information on how to retrieve your GCSE results, I’d recommend reading this Think Student article!
What to do if you’ve lost your GCSE results?
If you’ve lost your GCSE certificates, you will need to request your results from the exam board you sat exams under. You can request them from your school, but you’re only likely to be successful if it’s within the same year you sat your exams.
This Think Student article goes into detail about how to replace your lost GCSE results, so I’d recommend checking it out for more information.
Why are your GCSE results important?
We now know that GCSE results are valid for life, but how much do they matter? And why are they so important?
In essence, GCSE results are very important especially as they help you determine what sixth-form college you can attend. Most colleges have specific GCSE result requirements. And it goes without saying that they are crucial when it comes to deciding what you are going to study for your A-levels. After that, they will play a part in your university or further study applications.
However, their importance does not stop there. In fact, GCSE results can also be important for getting a job, especially if you do not have work experience. Employers are especially on the lookout for students with good grades in English and Maths, and GCSE results are often the only way to prove this.
Of course, as I mentioned earlier, GCSE results get less relevant as you get older. This means that long after your GCSEs, employers would favour work experience and higher qualifications. In other words, once you have A-Levels or a degree, you have even more evidence of your academic achievements, and your knowledge will be much more specialised than it was at GCSE level, which is the thing that employers often look out for.
However, do not mistake this to mean that your GCSE results will be of no use later on. There are many employers out there who may ask you for your GCSE results decades later, so it is crucial that you keep your certificates safe. Even if you are never required to provide them, it is better to have them in your possession just in case!