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New GCSEs: Businesses may favour candidates with old-style A*-G grades amid confusion over new 9-1 system

By Chris Price

Pupils leaving school with new style GCSE grades may have their CVs overlooked because employers are confused by the system, business leaders have warned.

Tomorrow, 16-year-olds collecting their results will be awarded 9 to 1 grades for their maths and English exams under education reforms designed to combat grade inflation.

Yet bosses in Kent have warned some firms will favour applicants with the old style A* to G marks because they understand them.

Pupils collect their GCSE results from Highsted Grammar School in Sittingbourne last year

Pupils collect their GCSE results from Highsted Grammar School in Sittingbourne last year

“They may only come across that new grading system when they start seeing those CVs dropping in on their desk,” said Janine Blower, HR manager at Ashford-based Facts International.

“Unfortunately that may lead to a small number of employers favouring candidates with the old-style letter GCSE grades.”

Her comments come after Seamus Nevin, head of employment and skills policy of the Institute of Directors, told the Times Education Supplement that many companies would view the new grades as “gibberish”.

Sixth form centres like MidKent College have been circulating infographics on social media to explain to bosses what the new grading system means.

However, many entrepreneurs remain perplexed.

Pupils celebrate their GCSE results at Herne Bay High School last year

Pupils celebrate their GCSE results at Herne Bay High School last year

Louis Hurst, chief executive of Whitstable-based Amelix Group, said: “The constant changes mean that we no longer have any respect for qualifications.

“How can we compare four candidates with four different types of qualification?

“All it means is that we now spend more time interviewing people as well as testing them ourselves.”

Mrs Blower said market research firm Facts, which is looking for five apprentices, has not received any advice about the changes from the government.

“There’s going to be an element of confusion and a small pocket of employers that push them to one side and favour ones with the old grading ABC system instead...” - Janine Blower, Facts International

She said: “We should have received some promotional material.

“The government have said they’ve spent some money doing that but it’s definitely not been enough.

“Young people are going to have to do a little bit of extra work to make their CVs stand out.

“I’m hoping it won’t stop employers getting people in and having conversations with them.

“Their recruitment may be a bit elongated while they try to figure out what that grade 4 or 5 means.

“There’s going to be an element of confusion and a small pocket of employers that push them to one side and favour ones with the old grading ABC system instead.”

The new grades for English and maths GCSEs will be awarded 9 to 1, with 9 the highest.

The A* and A grades have been split between 9 and 7, with 6 to 4 covering B and C and 3 to U covering D to U.

Other subjects will still be marked A* to G this year. The newly graded GCSEs in all other subjects will be taught from September.

Visit KentOnline.co.uk tomorrow for full coverage of GCSE results across Kent

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