Helping Your Child to Navigate Their Post 16-18 Options

Now that the results have been published I am sure that there will be widespread relief for the majority of young people and their parents after such a challenging year. Schools have put a monumental effort into ensuring that all grades are based on a rigorous and fair system of assessment.  

In most cases, results will be broadly as expected as students will have a good idea of how they performed in the school’s assessments. In that case, the transition to their chosen courses or employment will be seamless. 

If however, the results are lower than needed for a chosen destination here are some tips:

#1 My top tip is to speak to your  daughter’s or son’s school or college. Staff and careers advisers will be on hand to advise and there are numerous helplines and websites they can point you to if necessary. Just because grades do not match a specific offer does not mean that all doors are closed. Far from it.

#2 In the unlikely case of an administrative/procedural error they will help you to deal with this. If you wish to appeal against a grade for any other reason I would urge you to discuss this with the school before making a decision. It is unlikely that a grade would be changed unless there had been a procedural error and grades can be moved down and well as up. 

#3 Where A Level grades do not match a university offer that has been held students can apply for alternative courses via clearing. It is always worth speaking to the university admissions officers to investigate options. One piece of advice though – resist the temptation to do this for them. The students need to impress admissions officers by taking the initiative themselves and they need to move quickly before places fill up. 

#4 Where a place on an apprenticeship programme had been dependent on specific grades the students should speak to the employer. There may be alternatives.  It may be that a period of work experience/internship could secure a place in a future round of appointments. 

#5 Where GCSE results do not match 6th form or FE college course choices the schools or colleges and careers advisers will be on hand to advise. There will certainly be alternative courses for students to follow. 

My final tip:  Too often the media focus on a narrow definition of success. There is a vast range of opportunities for all young people to access with a wide range of grades.

If your child is still unsure about their next steps, offer them reassurance! There are lots of options available including:

*Click on the links above to learn more.

About the author: Brian Lightman is a specialist education leadership consultant who provides advice, support and consultancy for schools and leader at PiXL Futures. 

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