Employers and Universities: Work with us?

A quarter of survey respondents say their school will remain closed on Results Day

GCSEs and A-levels were cancelled this year due to Covid-19 and replaced with Centre Assessment Grades, with schools and colleges submitting grades to exam boards for moderation.

For many 16- and 18-year-olds, Results Day is the most important day of the year. Here at Success at School, we asked school and college staff on our mailing list what they will be doing differently this Results Day – as well as how students feel about the new grading system in place this year.

School and college opening:

  • 62% of respondents said their school and college will open on GCSE Results Day while 26.1% said theirs will remain closed.
  • Of respondents from colleges publishing A-level results, 63.5% said their institution will open, while 23.8% said theirs will remain closed.

Measures taken by schools and colleges which will not open as normal on Results Day include:

  • Asking students to go to a separate venue to pick up their results.
  • Requiring students to make appointments to collect their results.
  • Emailing results home but opening for support, advice and guidance.

Do students understand the new grading system – and do they think it’s fair?

Based on staff-members’ impressions, it seems that overall students have a reasonably good level of understanding of the new grading system. On a 1-5 linear scale (where 1 was very poorly and 5 was very well), 89.1% of staff ranked students’ understanding at 3-5, zero ranked students’ understanding at 1 and 10.9% at 2.

According to staff-members’ impressions, students were more likely to see the new grading system as unfair than fair – while the majority of students seem to be indifferent. On a 1-5 linear scale (where 1 was very unfair and 5 was very fair), zero respondents rated their students’ perception of fairness at 5, while 30.1% gave a rating of 1 or 2. 51.6% gave a rating of 3.

How will schools be helping students whose grades are lower than expected?

Many will be offering students one-to-one appointments with the Senior Leadership Team (SLT) and/or the school/college Careers Advisor. Some schools will be more lenient with students applying to their own Sixth Form Colleges, in some cases requiring students to take Autumn Resits and in certain cases taking recommendations from Heads of Department on whether to admit a student. Many will be advocating for students applying to other colleges or institutions.

When it comes to A-level/equivalent students applying to university, some schools said they would advocate for their students, and some have already been working with students to develop a backup plan.

Although the possibility of resits came up a lot in the free-text answers provided in our survey, only about a quarter of respondents (24.7%) were sure their institutions would be encouraging students to retake exams.

What support will be in place on the day?

  • 1% respondents said Careers Advisors would be on hand in their institution.
  • 1% said they will provide access to the pastoral team.
  • 50% said they will provide guided access to resources and information.
  • 6% said they will provide opportunities to talk to subject teachers.
  • 16% said they will give students the chance to talk to friends and peers.

Methodology: We asked careers advisors and teachers on our mailing list to complete our Results Day survey, which contained a mix of quantitative questions (e.g. multiple choice, check-box options) and qualitative questions (i.e. free text fields). We received 94 responses.

Notes to editors:

Success at School is a national careers website for students aged 11-19. In 2019, young people, careers advisors, teachers and other users paid over 1 million visits to the site for advice about careers, employers and universities. Visits rose to more than 750,000 in the first half of 2020. Success at School is recommended by the National Careers Service and Careers and Enterprise Company and has been praised by the Department for Education.

For more information visit successatschool.org.

Press contact: Jamie Goodland jamie@successatschool.org

Image: Thomas Tallis School Flickr account