Getting ready for GCSE results day?
The Hub presents the ultimate survival guide for everyone
No matter whether you’re a student, a teacher, parent or grandparent, results day is an emotional time for everyone involved. On Thursday 25th August 2016, sons, daughters, and grandchildren across Sutton will be ripping open their envelope for the big reveal. BUT before that happens, check out our ultimate survival guide for the day you’ve all been waiting for – we’ve got tips and advice for you….
Two words. Keep positive.
No matter what is printed on a piece of paper, your future is bright. Every year, 834,000 16 to 18-year-olds choose to study in a college, a further 438,000 go on to maintained schools and academy sixth forms, and an additional 70,000 16 to 18-year-olds do an apprenticeship.
Before the big day
If you’re feeling anxious about results day, try to look after yourself in the days before. When you’re feeling stressed, getting some exercise can help clear your head. It doesn’t have to be a massive gym session – just a quick jog or a brisk walk will do the job.
Look out for what you’re eating as well. Steer clear of junk food and aim for healthy food such as nuts and veggies. It will help keep your blood sugar levels on an even keel and keep your head clear.
With the school routine a distant memory, late nights can easily become the order of the day. But it’s no fun feeling half asleep on a day when you really need a clear head. Try to get some early nights in the run-up to results day, so your sleep pattern gets back to normal.
What you need to bring
- a fully charged mobile phone – to spread the good news
- something to write with and write on – for any feedback on the day
- a positive attitude
What happens next
What happens after you achieve your GCSEs? This is a vital decision and there are lots of different options. Seeking advice from teachers, parents, or the Apprenticeship Hub team, will help you to make a smart decision.
Recently the government introduced a new policy called ‘Raising the Participation Age’. This means that you have to stay in education or training until you are aged 18, unlike your older brother or sister who may have left education at 16, after their GCSEs.
This is great news as it means you can gain qualifications and training to support your career options for free up to the age of 18, rather than finishing at 16 and returning to study later on as an adult and having to pay for your education.
Check out your education routes below…
There is lots of choice when it comes to apprenticeships, which are now a very popular option amongst 16 – 24 year olds. From business to beauty, cooking to customer service, publishing to plumbing, and many more, you need to look into the types of careers you could land through your apprenticeship (you could pretty much do anything that you could do at uni).
If you are thinking about doing an apprenticeship, you will need an A – C grade in Maths, English, and ICT (GCSE). For those who did not achieve a C or above will need to complete their Functional Skills with a chosen training provider or college, just before starting an apprenticeship. You will work for an employer for no more than 40 hours a week, receive a nice wage and on-the-job training, plus you’ll study at college or privately with a training provider to gain a nationally recognised qualification – the government pays for your training.
You can search for local apprenticeship vacancies in Sutton, Croydon, Kingston and Merton here.
If you are an academic student and enjoy studying, you can stay at school in your sixth form and study academic subjects to A-level, which is a great route if you’re planning to go to university.
At sixth form, you’ll usually study 3 – 4 A-levels which takes two years, at the end of which you’ll take an exam in each of the subjects. The subjects available will be dependent on the sixth form.
Alternatively, you can study both academic and vocational courses at your local sixth form college as your school may not have a sixth form or you may prefer a more college, less classroom environment with a wider range of subjects to choose from.
If you’re more practically minded and want to study to be a chef, an engineer, a hair and beauty therapist or a builder (to name just a few trades), then a vocational course at a further education college may be just the thing. Many level 3 courses which you can study at a further education colleges are equivalent to 2 to 3 A levels and you’re gaining in-depth vocational training.
If you’re working, in self-employment or volunteering for more than 20 hours a week you can also study part-time as well to support you in further improving your work skills. For example, day release at a local college to study motor vehicles if you’re working in a garage.
It probably feels like you’ve been living and breathing these GCSE exams since May. If you are reading this, it’s probably because you are anxious or worried about your child’s exam results and how to deal with it. You’ve come to the right place…rest assured that after reading our top five tips, you will play the role of a perfect parent on results day.
- Find out the options
Regardless of the results your child receives, they need to put careful thought into what it is they want to do next as there are many routes. Make sure you know the options available in your local area by contacting your local college or check out our ‘What happens next’ section above to get a summary of the options for your child. You may have a fixed idea of what you want your son or daughter to do after GCSEs, but ultimately the decision is in their hands so you should support them.
- Remain positive
Try to remain positive, whatever the results. Your child may need reassurance from you that everything will work out and there will be an option suitable for them. Whether you attend results day with your child, or with them on the phone, be encouraging and supportive – give praise where it is due, and give advice where needed. Most importantly, be honest with your child. If their results are disappointing, don’t pretend they are good – it is okay to express disappointment towards the result, but not the individual.
- Don’t be selfish
Try not to let your vision for your child’s success cloud your judgement. You may have solid expectations for your child on results day, but you need to be ready for anything. Be prepared for a plan B and start thinking about alternative options for your child if they do not get the grades they wanted. Do not let your child get disheartened because you are feeling disappointed – whether they have received the grades they wanted or not, there is something out there that is right for them, and you should be there to help them find their future.
- Know your stuff
The rules have changed now and if your child doesn’t achieve at least a grade C or above in GCSE English, Maths and ICT, they will need to re-take them alongside any other qualifications they plan to do. However, colleges will support them through this and teachers will guide them on retaking their exams if necessary. It will be useful to understand the terminology around qualification levels – it’s a whole new language for most parents, but easy to learn.
- Entry level – suitable for students who have gained no GCSEs.
- Level 1 – equivalent to at least four GCSEs below grade C.
- Level 2 – equivalent to at least four GCSEs at grade C or above.
- Level 3 – equivalent to two to three A Levels.
- Be a loving parent
Your son or daughter needs you now more than ever – results day is a big deal for them. More than anything, be there for your child; if they need a shoulder to cry on, or someone to celebrate with, they should be able to count on you. They won’t forget that you helped them to get through the emotional day. Remember the journey your child has taken this far and look forward to many more years of learning, education and working out what they want in life. That is what makes it special.
You may be completely new to the process on result day, or more accustomed to the annual occasion with years of experience, however we urge you to read our top five tips for handling results day this year. Your pupils need your support and guidance more than ever to make an important decision, with the vast range of options surrounding them.
- Be the voice of calm
With emotions running high, your job should be a calming presence on results day. It’s a high pressure day for young people and their families and as a teacher receiving the results a day before, you have time to prepare advice for those whose results are not what they had hoped. Your main role for the day is to be reassuring and comforting, but also being realistic with students about their options and not make any false promises. Use wise words and support students who need to be pointed in the right direction.
- Do your research
Your pupils and their parents will be relying on you to give them clear, accurate guidance and advice on their next move, so it is your responsibility to ensure you are up to date with the latest options, procedures, and entry requirements. Whether you believe it or not, students will look up to you as their teacher and you will be someone’s role model, so do everything you can to avoid giving inaccurate information. Use your longer experience of life to explain that there are many alternative routes to a particular goal, and results are not a definitive judgement on the student.
- Have confidence in yourself
You have just spent years getting to know your pupils, tracking their progress, observing behaviour, analysing mock results, and helping them to improve. When dealing with results day, you should have confidence that you’ve done your best to help students. There are many things that happen in students’ lives that can affect results, so as long as you are happy with the support that you have given them, you should be happy. That will help to alleviate stress on the day.
- Expect tears
Tissues are an essential on results day, whether for tears of joy or sorrow. Try to listen to students without interrupting them. Let them experience the emotions and come to their own conclusions. You should not be afraid to show a bit of emotion yourself – it doesn’t matter whether it’s a high five, a pep talk or a joke – if it comes from the heart it’ll mean the world to your students because it shows you care.
- Remember it’s about the students
We understand it may be difficult to enjoy results day because of the pressure and expectations, but try to remember that it’s not about you – your main priority should be the students and their future. When the doors swing open to let them in to collect and open envelopes, you will remember why this is the best job in the world. Ensure you have make-up wipes and tissues for when phone calls to anxious parents are made. Remember to enjoy these scenes, share in their happiness, and leave the analysis for another day.
If you’re still struggling to prepare for results days after reading our advice, please feel free to contact the Hub Team on 020 8770 5000 or drop us an email at OpportunitySutton@Sutton.gov.uk