Hertfordshire headteacher offers advice to parents for A-Level and GCSE results day
- Credit: Archant
A Herts headteacher is offering advice to parents for A-Level and GCSE results day to help assuage their fears around predicted grades.
Lara Péchard, who lives in Welwyn Garden City and has links to Stevenage, is headteacher of St Margaret’s School in Bushey. After exams were cancelled due to coronavirus, Ms Péchard is speaking out amid growing fears that many will not achieve the grades they might have expected.
She explained: “With the unfamiliar territory of centre-assessed grades this year and the impact of the pandemic on starting sixth form and university, 2020 has been tough on Year 11 and 13 students.
“Many have not had the opportunity to say a proper goodbye to teachers and peers via the usual celebratory leavers events and for some, the impact to mental wellbeing has been tested to the limit.
“Preparing for a variety of results eventualities and talking together can really help to make sense of everything and ease worried minds.”
Ms Péchard believes there are a number of possible results days students and their families may be facing:
Happy Results Day: Your child achieves the grades they wanted and feels they deserve and they are moving on to the sixth form or university of choice. “This is the day we all want for our children. Time to breathe and celebrate”, says Ms Péchard.
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Happy but Unsettled Results Day: You child achieved the grades they feel they deserved and a little more due to the absence of exam nerves. Now they are wondering if they played it safe with their university choice – is it right for them?
“In this case, seek immediate UCAS support from your school. The chances are this year they will be able to make a change to a course or university. Although it is worth careful consideration first because if they took time and care in deciding on their first choice, it should not be underestimated or forgotten during the excitement.
“Equally if you are considering changing your A-Level choices because of your results, speak to your school as soon as possible”, she continues.
Confused results day: Your child has secured their A-Level choices or university choice but their centre-assessed grades don’t match what they had hoped for had they have sat their exams.
Ms Péchard urges parents, “If possible, steer your child towards a practical rather than an emotional response. Re-sitting exams in the autumn could unsettle their plans for the year and once they start sixth form or university there is a benefit from moving forward and away from feelings of disappointment.
“Speak to your child’s school because understanding their grade predictions might help to make sense of everything. Most importantly try not to lose sight of important facts; they have still achieved a place at their university of choice.”
Disastrous results day: Your child’s grades are completely off what was expected and their A levels choices or university place is not secure.
“This is the day no child or parent wishes to experience. If the worst case happens, don’t despair because there is reason to believe that there will be more university places available this year even for those that may have not achieve what they were expecting in their grades.
“Equally speak to sixth forms about A level options in light of the grades received. In this case it is important to listen to what has upset your child specifically; is it all about the grades or is it about the university or A-Level choices?”
After so long in lockdown Ms Péchard believes it is understandable why making any decision with the current backdrop is difficult.
She added: “Students had been studying for their exams for two years knowing they would happen. The sudden cancellation of these has rocked their world and has generated an anxiety that everything else is changeable and uncertain too. It is something that many are still coming to terms with.”
Ms Pechard offered the following advice ahead of results:
Reassure your child that your support, and the school’s advice are all solid and not going anywhere. Talk about the possibilities, whether this is tied to university choices, possible gap year plans or re-sitting exams. Try to keep open minded about those choices.
It often helps to talk about what your child is most worried about first. Talking about the worst-case scenario and showing that there is always a way through will help to reassure.