What’s a teacher's role in preparing students for Clearing?
As a teacher, what should you be doing to prepare your students for Clearing? Discover how you can help your students before, during and after results day.
What to do as a teacher before results day
Research on your own
Prepare for results day as though you yourself are a student. Be aware of the different grade outcomes students will face, the decisions they’ll have to make and how you can advise them. Knowing how Clearing and Adjustment work will allow you to properly support students and parents on the day.
Engage early with students
Start chatting with students about results day, Clearing and Adjustment before August. The more prepared students are, the less stressful results day will be. Organise class discussions in the weeks leading up to results day, share any insightful resources you come across and offer your availability for 1-on-1 chats. Encourage students to research Clearing courses before results day and create a shortlist of courses they’d like to apply for.
Prepare for the day by planning who will do what
Results day will run smoothly if teachers know their role. Organise who will help with giving students their results, who will advise students with next steps and who will answer any parent concerns. If students have the option to collect results online, make a calling hotline available on the day, in case these students have questions.
Make sure students know what to say on their call, or even have a shortlist of possible unis
Go through what students need to know about calling Clearing hotlines before results day. This will alleviate any stress on the day. Practice conducting phone interviews with students, and make sure they're prepared for their Clearing call.
What to do as a teacher on results day
Arrive early as unis will start early
Universities can begin accessing student results a few days before results day in confidence and under strict embargo. Universities can then start to respond to any conditional offers, but this will remain confidential until UCAS Track begins to update student offers from 8.30am on results day.
Some students will have to wait longer than others to have their Track account updated. Arrive at school or college before 8.30am to ensure you’re prepared for the day, if you're allowed to come in.
Usually, students can pick their results up from then onwards and can log in online, so expect some students to be in school/college that early too. It's worth noting that in 2021 most schools/colleges already know the Teacher Assessed Grades (TAGs) so will be able to identify potential near-miss students to help on results day.
Act as a comforter and bring solutions and options
Students will have many questions once they get their results. Offer words of encouragement to disappointed students and advise them on their options for next steps. No student should end results day confused about what to do.
Help students make decisions, don’t make them for them
Advise students on their options without telling them what they should do. Ultimately students have to decide on next steps for themselves. The best approach for any teacher is to lay out what options a student has and then support them through the process of what to do next.
Set up a safe space for chats and phone calls if students are in, and advise them to do the same if they're at home.
Students may want advice in private. Ensure there is a place on the day, such as an empty classroom, where students can chat to you 1-on-1 in person or online. Some students will want to start calling Clearing hotlines as soon as they check their results, so make sure there’s a quiet space where they can do so.
Set up a safe space for chats and phone calls
Students may want advice in private. Ensure there is a place on the day, such as an empty classroom, where students can chat to you 1-on-1. Some students will want to start calling Clearing hotlines as soon as they check their results, so make sure there’s a quiet space where they can do so.
Talk to parents and assure them too
Parents will also have many questions on results day. They’ll want to know what their child’s options are, how to take next steps and what you’d advise. Be prepared to answer these parent queries and to reassure them about all the varying options available.
What to do as a teacher after results day
Check in with students who didn’t get the grades/changed their minds
There’ll be students who didn’t get the grades they expected. They’ll be disappointed and confused about what to do next. Some may wish to appeal their Teacher Assessed Grades (TAGs) and you'll need to follow the process for this and manage expectations. Most appeals are unlikely to lead to higher grades as so many schools/colleges have put rigorous systems in place to award grades.
Check in to see how they’re doing, what they need help with and advise them on how to enter Clearing if that’s what they’re considering.
Other students will change their mind about a course they’ve applied for once they receive their grades. They may have gotten better grades than expected and choose to go through Adjustment, or have had a change of heart about what or where to study. Make yourself available on results day and the days that follow to support them with Adjustment.
Follow up with those upset, or who might want to do retakes or appeal
Remind students that they have options regardless of what grades they achieved.
Make sure they're aware they can appeal their grades. The respective exam boards in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales have all outlined an appeal process for students in 2021. This typically involves a student making an appeal to their school if they feel they were graded unfairly. If still unhappy, the student can take this appeal one step further to their respective exam board.
Students will also have the option to sit exams in autumn, or in summer the following year. With exams cancelled across the UK in 2021, students can actually take exams if they’re unhappy with their teacher-assessed grades.
Autumn exams may take place in October for A Level students (this is still to be confirmed), so make sure they know how and what to do if this is the path they choose.