When I Got My GCSE Results…

When I Got My GCSE Results…

The big day is finally here. You’ve either already held the envelope in your sweating, shaking hands, or you’re about to head off to school to pick it up. Or maybe you’re somewhere on holiday, knowing they are waiting for you when you return? Whichever it is, there’s no escaping the fact that today is GCSE Results Day, and sooner or later the outcome of two years of work will be made clear. 

Posted by David Walker on 22 August 2019

We’re really proud of the brilliant Year 11 pupils who took part in the Team Up tuition programmes over the last year. In fact, they did the best out of all the year groups, with an average improvement of one whole grade over a term! So to all of you - well done on reaching the finish line.

Of course, Results Day can have its fair share of laughter...or tears...so to show you that we’ve all been there, we reached out to some friends of Team Up to tell us their Results Day stories:


Naomi Batts, illustrator (@naomibatts)

“When I went to get my GCSE results, I remember I was wearing bright red lipstick. I think I chose to wear it because I needed that extra bit of confidence to stop myself from thinking my results would be bad. 

When I opened my envelope, they weren’t bad at all. They were pretty good actually. I got three As and the rest were Bs and that was good enough for me. Not being the academic type, I just wanted a good grade in Art and that was one of my A grades. I remember my music teacher saying ‘you were 4 marks off an A!’ but that didn’t bother me, I’d worked really hard for that B grade and it was a relief getting that result. 

Getting those GCSEs meant that I could go to college and study the things that were important to me, which was Art. When I look back at my GCSEs I think about how they opened up an opportunity for me but how it was hard work and patience that meant I could be an Illustrator.”

You can see more of Naomi’s work at naomibatts.com

Tulip Siddiq, MP for Hampstead and Kilburn (@tulipsiddiq)


“I remember the day I received my GCSE results like it was last week. I had worked really hard for my exams because I wanted to go to a new school for my A-levels but also because my mother was very strict about grades! 

I was in America visiting family on the day the results came out so I didn’t open the envelope as such but I did ring the school office and ask for my results which was worse I think.  

Believe it or not, the teacher who answered the phone got confused and started telling me another student’s results. The results were quite poor so I started feeling a sense of dread in my stomach. I then realised the problem when she started telling me my Sociology grade as I hadn’t studied Sociology. Whew! Overall I was quite pleased with my results. It had been a tough few years for me personally and I was pleased my grades didn’t reflect that too much.”

You can find out more about Tulip at tulipsiddiq.com 

Jasper Jolly, financial reporter for The Guardian (@jjpjolly)














“I received my GCSE results via email, so I didn't have the nervous drive in to school or the jumping in the air pictures. I'm pretty sure I woke up a few times during the night to check if the email had come through. When it did, at about 6am, my only feeling was a strangely brief burst of relief that I had got what I was expected to get, followed by a wave of tiredness. I promptly went back to sleep. When I finally woke up again hours later in mid-morning my parents were in a state of fevered anxiety because I hadn't told them anything - they thought I couldn't bear to reveal the horror.”

Read Jasper’s work at The Guardian


Daisy Dunn, author and classicist (@daisyfdunn)

“I spent the morning of my GCSE Results Day rowing down the Thames. I was on a summer course, and figured nothing could be more calming than the motion of the boat, oar in, oar out, oar in, oar out. I got to school an hour after it opened, hoping I’d have missed the rush and might slip in casually, unseen, rowing gear in tow. No such luck. Everyone had opened their envelopes and stuck around, waiting.

“Here she is!” went the cry. “Where’ve you been?” As I picked up my envelope I found a circle of tiger mothers and peers forming around me. Had I done it, had I got a ‘clean sweep’? Time for Plan B. I bolted, made my way to the park, and opened the thing in private. Relief, elation. I let my phone ring out.”

Daisy’s  anthology, Of Gods and Men: 100 Stories from Ancient Greece and Rome, has just been published by Head of Zeus. Her website is www.daisydunn.co.uk

Sam Rowe, illustrator (@_samdraws)

"This might sound funny (and old) but I don’t remember the experience of opening my GCSE results very well. It was ten years ago and we collected ours as a group of friends from what was normally a maths classroom. I don’t remember how nervous I was but I just wanted to get it over with so I opened mine as soon as I stepped outside. The feeling I remember most clearly is relief at getting A — Cs. A couple of As, a few Cs and mostly Bs. I wasn’t aiming for (and didn’t expect) a suite of top grades so I was just glad to have what I needed to get going with A Levels (mostly art subjects)."

See more of Sam's work at www.samdraws.com (and he drew our cover image!)

And from our very own Programme Manager, Joanna Pickets:


“Before GCSE results day, I was nervous about what I would get, so I constantly tried to downplay my expectations. I told myself that if I could just pass the majority of them, then that would be good enough. My predicted grades had been high, but I had convinced myself that I would get very mediocre results and that I would be totally fine with that. So when I opened the envelope and saw high grades in line with those that I had been predicted, my jaw dropped. I told my Dad on the phone and heard him screaming out 'YOU'RE A-STAR!!'. The results gave me a platform for everything else that I have gone on to pursue in my education and career. Ultimately, it increased my desire to work in education, so that I could help young people also feel proud at achieving their best.”  

Team Up use tuition, delivered by inspirational role models, to meaningfully increase the attainment of pupils in order to improve the choices open to them. Interested in supporting us?

  • If you are a teacher, senior leader or know a school who might be interested in running a Team Up tuition programme this academic year, please contact school-partnerships@teamup.org.uk. We can deliver weekly tuition for pupils in Years 5-11, with a special intensive pre-GCSE course in April-June.

  • If you have free time and would like to use it to help young people raise their results, why not tutor with us? You’ll get training, teaching resources and a whole host of benefits including access to our career mentoring scheme. Apply here

  • Donate to Team Up to help us reach more pupils.

Cover image by Sam Rowe.