Although the original date for receiving both GCSE and A-level results has not changed, school leavers will this year receive awarding qualifications without having taken any exams, leaving many teenagers, parents and guardians apprehensive about the future.
In April, the Government made the decision to adopt a calculated grade process which considers a range of evidence including mock results, classwork and homework, to generate a grade they believe students would have achieved if teaching, learning and exams had happened as planned. It has now made further announcements which will give A-level students the chance to choose between the marks they get awarded on results day as above or their achieved mock results. Jon Graham, Chief Executive at JTL, discusses the impact of these changes and the next steps for school leavers.
Results Day 2020
Across the country, many teenagers have been denied their traditional milestones, from exams to their school prom, due to the impact of Covid-19. However, results day is one last rite of passage they will still experience. Some school leavers are being invited back into school under strict social distancing and safety measures to receive their results. A poll by the Student Room of more than 500 teenagers suggests half of students will receive their results by email, a third will go into school, with the remainder still undecided.
Analysis of the algorithm and data used by the exam regulator Ofqual to distribute grades after the cancellation of exams amid the coronavirus pandemic, revealed that a net 39% of assessments of A-level grades by teachers are likely to be adjusted down before students receive their results. This suggests that nearly 300,000 A-levels issued are lower than the teacher assessment of over 730,000 A-level entries in England this summer. GCSE results are expected to follow a similar downgrade rate. Those most at risk of receiving revised grades appear to be students on the border between grade 6-4 (B and C grades), and between grades 4-3 (C and D grades).
Exam results time is already unsettling, but with these developments and changes amid Coronavirus, feelings of anxiety are bound to be exacerbated.
Feeling worried about your results?
Coronavirus has impacted all our lives, bringing big changes and uncertainty, and creating a lot of worry for us all. So, if you’re feeling anxious about your exam results, it’s important to remember that this is completely understandable.
For many of us, a ‘lack of control’ feeling is often a contributing factor as to why we feel worried, and this unpleasant feeling certainly applies to exam results. Throughout years of study, school leavers are continually told how important exam results are, with both parents/guardians and teachers encouraging you to ‘take control’ of your results by working hard in class and revising. However, since schools were closed and exams cancelled, this feeling of control has been taken away from you and instead replaced with uncertainty of what your future will look like.
This year has put everyone in a situation which no one had planned or experienced before, so whilst there has been many challenges, it’s important to remember that wherever you’re hoping your grades take you (to college, university or employment), people understand the current situation and you are not alone.
Reviewing your options
If you get the grades you want – congratulations! In-between all the celebrations, make sure you check back on all the requirements that you need to complete prior to starting your next chapter into work or on into further education.
Slightly outside of expectations? Have you planned any other routes? Above expectations? Even better. Do you want to re-think your plans? Upgrade your ideas about a future career? Don’t worry, keep reading and we’ll give you some advice.
Reconsidering university? The latest employment stats reveal that 41% of university graduates did not enter into full time employment. The social aspect of life as a student can be deemed a huge part of the university experience, both in and outside of a classroom environment, and even more so when settling in as a first year undergraduate. However, with news that face-to-face lectures could be limited for the next academic year, these recent developments may have led you to re-evaluate your reasons for wanting to attend university in the first place and have left you rethinking your future. Read more of re-thinking university here.
An apprenticeship isn’t a plan B
Continuing education at school is the perfect option for some, but it isn’t the right choice for everyone. The decision to leave education and enter the world of paid work can be a really tricky one. There’s no right or wrong answer, but a lot of people forget there is another way and it’s one that combines the best of both worlds – earning whilst you are learning. Apprenticeships do just that.
Ultimately, apprenticeships give you a skill for life and an increased chance of securing a job in a chosen industry, which we understand is a much-needed reassurance during the current climate. You could become a qualified electrician or plumber, and within the industry there are always options for further development and career progression. For example, many of JTL’s electrical apprentices go on to graduate with a degree in electrical engineering, with the added advantage that their course has been sponsored by their employer, meaning that they are left free of significant university debt unlike so many other graduates whilst remaining in employment.
Apprenticeships allow you to ‘earn as you learn’ and get a head start on your career at the same time. High-quality vocational education – like that delivered by JTL – is not a lesser choice. It’s just a different one. Take on a JTL apprenticeship and you’re equipping yourself with the practical skills that employers, businesses and homeowners really need. What’s more, average salaries for qualified electricians and plumbers are as high as £33,176 and £31,787 respectively*. There’s plenty of demand for new talent with huge potential to progress up the career ladder.
At JTL, we understand that this is also an extremely difficult time for parents and guardians, and the thought of your child’s future being decided on by factors out of their control can be daunting. To understand more about the value of apprenticeships and what they can offer read more here.
Deciding what you’re going to do after your GCSEs or A-levels isn’t an easy call, but we’d encourage young people to make their own decisions rather than opt to follow the crowd; consider your skills, think about your long-term aspirations and be honest about your strengths and weaknesses. Explore all the avenues and keep an open mind. For more information visit jtltraining.com/thinknow.
Remember, you’re not alone, and if you need help to cope during this uncertain time, talk to your friends, parents or carers, teachers or to a professional counsellor. Whatever you decide, I wish you the very best of luck with your results and future pathway.
*Office for National Statistics Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings 2019
About the author:
Jon Graham is JTL’s Chief Executive