THE Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership is calling on businesses across the county to ensure they understand the latest changes introduced to the GCSE grading system.

Last summer teenagers across the UK received numerical grades from 9 to 1 in Maths, English Literature and English Language for the very first time.

A year later, the grade changes are set to expand to a further 20 subjects, including the sciences, modern foreign languages and history.

The new system, initially announced by the Government in 2014, aims to provide more differentiation at the top end of the grading system for exceptionally high performing students.

Nigel Tipple, chief executive of OxLEP , said: “We want to encourage our businesses to understand the changes and be as prepared as possible.

“These changes will undoubtedly have an impact on businesses, particularly those smaller set-ups, looking to recruit, who may not have a human resources team to rely on.

“We would encourage all businesses to update their recruitment materials where required.”

Students who would have previously scored a high A* will receive a grade 9, a low A* will now score an 8, a low C aligns with a grade 4 and a low-grade G will now score a 1.

OxLEP is calling on small businesses to be aware of the changes and to maintain up-to-date recruitment policies and procedures.

For those businesses looking to recruit a new cohort of apprentices in September, OxLEP hopes to raise awareness of the changes, as many of this ‘next generation’ of workers are likely to have received only numerically-graded qualifications.

Several more ‘specialist’ subjects will also be changing to the new system by next summer.

Further reforms that have affected students this summer include further implementation of the new AS and A-Level format to a wider range of subjects. This sees AS levels not contributing to an overall A-level grade, with the two operating as separate qualifications.

Examinations for both will take place in a linear format, taken at the end of each year, and not a combination of both linear and modular exams.

The Government is continuing to develop plans for T-Levels – vocational qualifications that aim to set technical courses on a level playing field with A-Levels and other more academic qualifications.

T-Levels will be rolled out in 2020. OxLEP says it is important for businesses to understand how this might affect them and it is keen to encourage organisations to take full advantage of business-education engagement opportunities, such as work experience programmes.

By offering ‘meaningful’ work experience placements, OxLEP says businesses can invest in their future workforce and directly engage with its potential next generation of workers.

Mr Tipple added: “Work experience is an excellent way for businesses to initially engage young people those looking to introduce apprenticeship or training programmes.

“We are committed to empowering young people, through employer engagement, to develop skills as well as linking education providers with businesses. We would encourage organisations to contact us to explore work experience schemes for the next academic year.”

Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership champions Oxfordshire’s economic potential, acting as a catalyst and convener to drive a dynamic and growing economy.

It’s vision for Oxfordshire being ‘a vibrant, sustainable, inclusive, world-leading economy – driven by innovation, enterprise and research excellence’.

Since 2011, OxLEP has secured more than £600m of central government funds for the Oxfordshire economy, supporting the creation of around 43,000 new jobs over the past five years, representing almost 50 per cent of a 2031 target of 85,600 new jobs for the county.

In total OxLEP oversees a £2.2bn growth programme for Oxfordshire.

City Deal-funded projects, including major STEM schemes at the Harwell Innovation Hub, Culham Advanced Manufacturing Hub and the Begbroke Innovation Accelerator. ensured that OxLEP secured top position for research and development across all English local economic areas in 2017, according to the Enterprise Research Centre.

For more information on the grade changes, or on work experience visit