Generally speaking, you're only likely to need proof of your GCSE or A Level results shortly after you've taken the exams. In the case of A Levels, for instance, you may be applying for university or vocational training immediately after taking them (or even before) and you're likely to have the certificates to hand. However, this isn't always the case. If more time has elapsed, you may have lost the certificates, and to obtain replacements or verification, you'll need to know which board certified your results.
Why Might I Need to Know Which Exam Board My School Used?
Once you've left school, it's quite possible you'll never need to take your exam certificates from wherever you've filed them. Although you'll need to list your GCSEs and A Levels, with grades, on most job applications, it's likely that the employer won't ask to see the certificates. However, some employers may want to see proof, and you'll certainly need them if you want to go to university as a mature student. This can be a problem. Perhaps they've been lost when you moved house, or perhaps you never took them with you when you moved away from your parents' home. The good news is that you can apply to the exam board for either replacement certificates or a letter confirming your grades. However, to do this you need to know which board to contact — and that might not be as simple as it sounds.
What Are the Exam Boards?
Over the past few decades, the make-up of the exam boards for the UK has changed considerably. Where there used to be a large number, there are now six:
If you took the exams within the past twenty years, it will probably have been through one of these. However, if it's been longer, the board that awarded your grades may no longer exist. In this case, you'll need to find out which of the current boards has taken it over. The Government has a webpage where you can check this.
How to Find Your Board
If you don't remember which board your certificates were from, the best thing would be to contact the school or college you were attending at the time. While they may not have the full records of your results, they should be able to tell you which board they were using at the time for the subjects you took.
If the institution no longer exists, then the local authority education department may be able to help you. In all cases, though, it's likely you'll need to be persistent, especially if your exams were a long time ago. The records might not be easy to find, and the current admin staff might conclude they can't help you, but it's likely they have the information somewhere.
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