Results days in August – just the beginning!
They can be the best days in the whole school calendar. To share the emotion of the students you have helped throughout the year. Yes, there maybe tears of joy and disappointment but it’s an opportunity to experience the final closure on a demanding years work for the exams office.
That is if you are paid to come in. For some, they do not even get that opportunity to share in the best day of their centres success. And what is even harder to cope with is, most of the academic staff are not there anyway. Their job has been done with most teachers off on holiday, having handed over their students to the exam process, including results days.
But as most will know the exam process does not end with results. There may be many different outcomes to consider on and after results days and while there should be various members of the SLT and other academic staff to support and help students, many exams office staff have to pick up the pieces on their return in September. For some students this can be much too late to deal with their specific needs.
The fundamental issue here is one can go on about various awarding organisation’s systems and processes; deadline dates and various results services but internal management of staffing and available resources can just be as restrictive to students deciding on their next step. In general, historically most schools and colleges serve their students well on such occasions but in times of cut backs one has got to be even more aware of one of the most important days in a centres diary not being compromised by a lack of vision on staffing and resources.
And sometimes is too easy to just blame the inflexibility of the established system. Students, parents and guardians need to play their part. For example, one parent rang up the EOA office the other day to ask – “when is their son’s GCSE results coming out”. The son had forgotten the date; the parent has not bothered to check. But even worse as many will acknowledge, having distributed all your centres results (on the day and/or by post), issued the certificates (at an award ceremony and/or by post), only to be rung up, ten years later by a student who has lost or not bothered to collect their results and certificate.
Historically, individuals are always asked to go back to their centres to track down old results and certificates by awarding organisations. The problem we are now facing is so many exam centres have changed name, staff been amalgamated or even closed making it almost impossible for any students to recover this information.
And it’s not always the students fault. Today there are far more family break ups. Valuable information may have been lost in moves or is just not accessible anymore. Getting students to take responsibility for keeping hold of basic exam data such as their candidate number is crucial and fingers crossed the whole ULN system will begin to establish itself so individuals can go back to their awarding organisation and get the information they need, especially when their old centre no longer exists. The exam office can play a very important role in the ongoing development and life opportunities of our young people by adapting this approach across the exam community.