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What Happens on A Level Results Day 2020?

Share article posted on August 12, 2020

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Dear Students and Families

I do hope everyone is keeping safe and well, and also that those who are waiting for results are not suffering too much.  The final run up to A level results day is always very nerve-wracking, and the difficult circumstances this year mean, I fear, that some of you are feeling more worried than usual.  

The purpose of this post is therefore firstly to let you know how we will be supporting our A level students on results day, and secondly to try to offer some reassurance where I am able to do so.  I am sorry the message is quite long but I am trying to answer the questions that are arising and to set everyone’s mind at rest as much as I can.

A Level Results released at 8 am:

Students will be emailed their A level results at 8am.  If students don’t want an email and would prefer to call us, or to ask a family member to call us, they should confirm this by emailing Jason/ Lu Qian on info@westminstertutors.co.uk

We are asking students NOT to come into college to get their A level results due to the requirements for social distancing and because we are still making the college coronavirus-ready for the start of term.

Help with A level results from 8am:

Jason and Lu Qian will be on hand to help with A level results and queries from 8am.  At 8am the phones will of course be extremely busy so please try to be considerate and don’t stay on the phone for an extended period about your individual queries. The best thing is to let us know what the problem is and then give us a chance to deal with the issue and we will then either call or email you back.

UCAS Track opens at 8am:

UCAS Track should go live at 8am, at which point students will be able to see if their first or insurance choices have been made ‘unconditional’ - if so, congratulations you are IN!!!  Please note that a university may have decided to accept you even if your grades are below your offer, so you will also need to check your A level results.

If your university choices do not have a decision showing it may be that they are missing information or some of your results have not been transferred electronically.  If so, you need first to call your chosen university, find out what is happening or what is missing, and then contact us so we know what we need to send over (for example Jason can send a statement of your results).

If you find you are in Clearing: for students who are in Clearing, I suggest that you come into college so that we can help you in person as overall this is likely to be more efficient.  If, however, you are unable to travel either due to the distance or because you need/ want to avoid public transport, Joe and I will advise you by phone or Zoom after 9am.

Students who are in Clearing are the ONLY students that we will be having in college.  If you would like to come in and would also like to have someone to give you moral support, please only bring one other person. 

Help with Clearing/ UCAS after 9am:

Both I and Joe will be on hand to help with Clearing and any UCAS issues after 9am.  Please note that it is vital that I have time to devise a strategy for each student who is in Clearing before I talk to individual students, otherwise there is a risk that I spend 30 minutes on the phone to one person while other people are losing out on opportunities.  

It is easier for us to help you with Clearing if you are in college, particularly if we need to speak to a university on your behalf (for example to make a case for you/ support your UCAS reference), but we fully understand that you might prefer not to travel.  We will of course also help people by phone or Zoom, but this might be less efficient as we and the phones are busy and you will need to wait your turn, which may well mean waiting for a call back. 

Clearing is very fast moving but please be reassured that we are very good at what we do and in turn each year our students do very well!  Normally all the action is between 9am and 12pm when the aim is to try to secure the best offers you can in Clearing.  You then have a bit of ‘cooling off’ time before you decide which offer to accept later in the day: you can only accept one offer so it is important to consider your options and again discuss with me or Joe before you make that choice.

Using Clearing to ‘Trade Up’ to a Better University/ Course:

I know there are some students who are thinking of using Clearing to upgrade their university options if possible.  I think that there should be a good chance to do this this year, and the great thing is that students are now able to release themselves into Clearing instead of waiting for their universities to release them.  Obviously, though, it is important to do your research before you put yourself into Clearing.  I would suggest students who are looking to ‘trade up’ also come into college but if you feel happy doing the research on your own, then it is fine to do it at home.  That said, you should definitely seek advice from either me or Joe before making your final choice!  

Please note that if you applied with your former school you will need to go to check with them about their UCAS support because universities will not be able to deal with me if I am not your UCAS referee and you didn’t apply through our centre.  If results etc are missing then we should be able to email these to these direct to your universities if you give us the correct email address.  If necessary, though, we can also send your results to your former school so that they can send them on.  Again, please make sure you provide us with the correct email address.

What reassurance can you offer about my A level results and UCAS?

Obviously, we are still waiting and hoping for your A level results as well so I cannot make any promises, but there are a variety of things that should reassure you just a little bit, and the most important advice I would give right now is please to try not to listen too much to the scare-mongering in the news and to sit tight and hope for the best until you get your results!

There is a lot that we do not yet know, but there are some things that we do know and which might cheer you up a bit.   Firstly, overall A level results from centre assessed grades were up 12% and the statistical standardisation model is apparently reducing the grades down by 10%, meaning that overall A level results are still up 2% on general trends.  Secondly, it is possible that the statistical adjustment model is using a broader brushstroke (as per the problems in Scotland) BUT because we are a smaller centre it should not be applied to us, although I am not sure if a different model or some other kind of fine tuning has been used instead.  Thirdly, account is taken of the school’s previous A level performance and ours was fantastic, with us placing in the top 100 schools in the country for A level results last year, and in the top 20 for the progress our students made with us.  Finally, WT does not have a GCSE cohort big enough to submit data so that aspect of the statistical exercise is null for us. 

In relation to appeals for A level results, following the consultation, grounds for appeal are actually very limited as they are only if it is thought there was an error in the school submitting/ the exam board receiving the centre assessed grade.  Obviously we will appeal for you if we believe an error of this kind has been made. 

Despite the uncertainty, I have another couple of things that might cheer you up.  Firstly, I genuinely believe that universities, including the Russell Group, should be much more flexible on A level grades this year.  At WT we have already seen this in the past few years, and it is likely be even more the case this year as university numbers are down and there are places to fill.  In the past couple of years, I have had only one student enter Clearing because s/he was rejected by a university, and the others actually chose to go into Clearing to trade up (successfully!) to a higher-ranking Russell Group university.  I think there is everything to play for this year and while there is much anxiety about the A level process and the results, overall I do not think our students will suffer in terms of their university applications and their onward destinations.  

Secondly, if you feel your A level results just do not reflect what you would have achieved in the real exams, there is the chance of autumn A level retake exams in October which we will run for our own students. Your final A level certificate will give your best grade out of either the summer or the autumn results.  This means that there is a chance to have a crack at the real exams if you feel you would have done better in them.  By the way, we now know that the autumn 2020 A level exams will include all of your examined units exactly as they would have been, but will not include courseworks, fieldwork, practicals, etc.  We are also currently checking with our teachers if they are willing and able to do autumn A level revision lessons online in addition to their regular teaching this coming term.

As I said, sorry for such a long post, but I am keeping my nerve and hoping you all will be okay.  And if you do need any help on results day, we will all be on hand to help you.   

Very best of luck to you all, sit tight and hope for the best!!!

Virginia Maguire BA MA MLitt

Principal