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Getting your grades during COVID – information and top tips

This year all exams were cancelled because of Coronavirus. This means grades have been worked out differently to normal.  Here’s some useful information about getting your results and what to do if they’re not what you expected.

How have my grades been worked out?

Your teachers have decided what grades you should get using information like mock exam results, coursework marks and classwork. These results are called ‘calculated grades’.

Your Teacher of the Deaf should have helped with the decision too.

Teachers ranked all the people in your year from top to bottom. The exam boards used this to work out your grades. They also used the grades students got last year.

This means that even if your teacher thinks you were going to get a grade 5 (B grade in Wales and Northern Ireland) at GCSE, it does not mean you definitely will.

What can I do if I am not happy with my results?

You might be worried your teachers haven’t been fair when deciding your results.

If you think they have low expectations because you are deaf, you can talk to your school or college about this. You can also contact your exam board.

If you have good evidence this has happened, an exam board might change your grade.

How can I prove I have been treated unfairly?

This might not be easy. Here are some things to think about:

  • Did your Teacher of the Deaf help decide your grades?
  • What information did your teachers use to work out your grade? After you get your results, you can submit a ‘subject access request’ to find out how your school graded you.
  • Was your class accessible? Did you struggle with schoolwork because you did not fully understand what was going on?
  • Did you have any special arrangements for your mock exams? For example, extra time or a communication support worker.

It is important to think about these before getting your grades. Talk to your Teacher of the Deaf and show them this webpage if you are worried.

What if I cannot prove I have been treated unfairly?

In England, you should be able to take written exams in autumn if you want to. In Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland you may need to wait until next summer to sit exams.

If you’re worried you might not get the grades you need for a course you’re doing next year then it’s good to think about other options. You can do this before getting your grades. This way you will be more prepared.

What if I am taking a vocational qualification (like a BTEC or NVQ)?

What you do depends on what qualification you are doing.

  • Some awarding bodies (the organisation that gives you your course certificate) will use your coursework to work out your grades.
  • Some courses will have asked you to do an online test. Any tests should have been fully accessible. For example, if you had to watch a video that wasn’t subtitled or were interviewed by someone not deaf-aware you may be able to complain.

Want more information or advice?

If you want advice or support about your results, you can contact our Helpline now. You do not have to wait until you get your grades.

Our free Helpline is available Monday-Friday 9am-5pm. There are lots of ways to get in touch:

  • Freephone: 0808 800 8880
  • SMS text: 07860 022888
  • Email:
  • BSL video relay – Interpreter Now

For more information, check out the Helpline page here.

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National Deaf Children's Society

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Helpline: 0808 800 8880

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