IT seems a real shame, when money is tight, that the Government has had to spend nearly £400,000 to publicise and explain the changes to the GCSE system.

The introduction of the numerical grading system, starting with English, English Literature and Maths this year, is to better distinguish between the new and old GCSEs.

However, the spending acknowledges that in the rush to introduce the new qualifications, as well as the new grading system, that there is still confusion over which qualifications will have a number, which will have a letter, and what each number or letter means for our young people when they try to enter college, university or employment.

This is frustrating for youngsters and parents.

There has already been confusion due to the introduction of the Standard Pass (a Grade 4) and the Strong Pass (a Grade 5).

Schools are only required to report Grade 4s to parents, yet some, not all, more prestigious Russell Group universities will be requiring Grade 5s in key subjects.

Students will need to do more research than ever to ensure that they apply to the appropriate universities. We are not sure, of course, what individual employers will be requiring in the future.

So, one last chance to summarise:

The highest grade is a Grade 9, and this will be awarded to fewer pupils than the current A*.

The Government has said that the new grading scale does not directly compare to the old letter scale; however, Ofqual says it will ensure that broadly the same proportion of students will receive Grades 1, 4 and 7 as would have achieved Grades G, C and A in the lettered system. Simple!

Good luck to everyone this summer.