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It is impossible to compare this years GCSE results with last years.

It is impossible to compare this years GCSE results with last years.

The new system makes comparisons with previous years impossible – heads and governors need to communicate this, argue Geoff Barton and Emma Knights

In case anyone wasn’t aware, this summer’s examination results season is going to be “volatile”, especially for GCSEs.

How do we know? The chief regulator of Ofqual, Sally Collier, has said so. In a recent speech at an examination symposium, she warned that “individual schools could experience more variation than normal”.

We think it’s important that everyone knows this – everyone, except students. For them, results day this year should be what results days every year really ought to be – a celebration of what, after 11 or so years of schooling, they have individually achieved. This day should be a symbolic marker of the transition from one phase of education to the next stage of life. For most students and their teachers, any results day should be one of joy.

That’s why our respective organisations welcome Ms Collier’s candour and caution. It’s important that governors, parents and the local media understand that this year’s GCSE examination results can’t be compared neatly with those of previous years.

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