Let’s face it, we’re more likely to be attracting the eyes of concerned parents than teenagers at this time of the morning (and, indeed, at any time), so here are five top tips for parents this morning, from the Ucas exams helpline:
- Don’t panic – do reassure: We take calls from students who are panicking that they haven’t got the results they need and the first thing we tell them is to try to stay calm. This goes for parents too! Try to remain positive, whatever the results. Your child may need reassurance from you that everything will work out and it will all be OK.
- Don’t get ‘FOMO’ (Fear of Missing Out) and rush into anything: There is no need to make quick decisions. Give your child time to reassess and have a good think about what they want to do before they start making the next steps into their future education outcomes.
- Know the options: Your child is legally bound to stay in full-time education or training until they are 18. Their three main options are: 6th Form; College; and Apprenticeships. With thousands of courses on offer, there will be something to fit your youngster’s personal tastes.
- Think local: There will be variations in your local environment so take some time to speak with local colleges and see what apprenticeships are available in your area through www.findapprenticeship.service.gov.uk/apprenticeshipsearch.
- Pick up the phone: If you want to find out more information, clarity, support or advice don’t forget that the Exam Results Helpline is here to help parents as well as the students themselves so give us a call on 0808 100 8000 or Twitter @ERHelp or facebook.com/examresultshelpline.
An exam results helpline, administered by Ucas, will be open from 7.30am this morning for students who need help with unexpected results or need anything clarifying about their next steps.
Ucas says the phones will be staffed by a specially-formed team of careers advisors who come together at the UCAS head office in Cheltenham once a year to help young people who receive unexpected exam results.
Callers can dial 0808 100 8000 for advice on GCSE results and what options are open to them. Nick Hynes, a careers adviser who has worked for the service for more than 25 years said:
“We are here for everyone who has questions but, in particular, for those people who want to find out all of the options available to them as well as sixth form.
“There are so many choices now and apprenticeships are growing in popularity as well as professional options and going to local colleges.
“Often it’s parents who want to help their children – this is an incredibly stressful time for some young people and it’s really important they don’t panic and call us as soon as they need to and we can work things out together.”
On average, a quarter of the calls placed to the helpline come from parents, Ucas said.
Welcome to Thursday’s live blog as hundreds of thousands of teenagers are waiting to receive their GCSE results this morning.
However, headteachers have warned that “unprecedented changes” to English and maths exams means they cannot be compared with previous years. The changes are the biggest overhaul of the examination system in England since GCSEs were introduced to replace O-levels nearly 30 years ago.
The results will be the first of the revised GCSEs sat by pupils in England, the culmination of a shake-up launched by the former education secretary Michael Gove. The new courses have a greater emphasis on final exam marks, with little or no coursework counting towards final grades, and a new grading scheme running from 9 at the top to 1 as the lowest rank.
The sheer extent of the changes means that year-on-year comparisons are “unjust and unreliable” according to Paul Whiteman, the general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers.
“School leaders have worked hard to help students and their families to understand the change from A-G to 9-1 grades,” said Whiteman, who was concerned that schools may be unfairly penalised in the Department for Education’s performance tables. “But there’s still plenty of uncertainty about what the results really show.
“Until all of the reformed GCSEs are fully implemented and we’ve seen a few more years of the 9-1 system, those who seek to hold schools to account should refrain from comparing this year’s results to last.
“They are far from a like-for-like comparison and for any drop in results, support rather than sanction is the appropriate path to take.”
We will be covering all the day’s GCSE-related news as it breaks, so stay tuned for more details. And if you’re waiting to find how you’ve done, then good luck!