A LEVEL RESULTS DAY 2022 was a huge event for pupils in England, Wales and Northern Ireland who received the first set of A level results determined by external exams since 2019.
The column inches generated on grade inflation – and, in recent weeks, deflation – had been as numerous as chipped mugs in a school staff room.
Overall, it felt like the day did exactly what it had said on the exam regulator's tin. Grades were pulled back from the generous teacher assessed marks of 2021 but had some way to go before they were back to pre-pandemic normal.
In 2022, the number of A and A*s were reduced by 8.4 percentage points compared to the previous year but would have to drop a further 10 percentage points to match 2019.
During the few days following the results, School Guide spoke to hundreds of parents with children at all types of schools who were able to see their children reach their potential. We write 'potential' as success for each child will look different and isn't always shaped like an A.
These real parents shared their helpful tips, and we've create a top five to help you.
Mum's (or Dad's) The Word
Parental interest and support is critical – and you are already demonstrating your child is on the first rung of the success ladder by reading this blog Engaged parents who are supportive and open to new ways to help their children are a key factor in pupils' success. Your son or daughter may now be able to drive or have a part time job but don't be afraid to help them with the basics like a revision timetable or staying on top of coursework deadlines. Many A levels have a coursework element, and if you can encourage them to put as much energy and focus into this as possible, it will bag them all-important marks before they have even stepped into an exam hall.
Winging It Won't Work
The idea that they can wing it / cram and do well can just about pay off with GCSEs but not with A levels. Even in non-essay subjects such as maths, pupils need wide and secure knowledge to be able to interpret and answer exam questions and get the best marks. There is no getting over the fact that A LEVELS ARE A SLOG and hard work is essential. As they move into their final couple of months of revision and many are itching to leave school, encourage them to treat it like a job and organise a 9-5 schedule with evenings free for going to the gym and social life.
This one is tricky as we know it's hard to control but one of the key habits we see in successful A level pupils is that they surrounded themselves with like-minded friends. Students who are ambitious and know where they want to get to – and, importantly, what they need to get there – can have a greater influence and impact than anything a parent can say or do. It's hard to alter this once they enter their final year but it can help you review options for sixth form if you feel your son or daughter isn't going to get this help in their current setting.
Teachers are heroes and want their pupils to do well. Encourage your son or daughter to speak to their teachers as much as possible; even if they don't love their teaching style or personality type. Asking for extra help will always be viewed as a strength by teaching staff, and they have the expertise to walk through weak spots and help pupils build on strengths. In short, teachers can take the guess work out of what each student needs to get the best grades.
What The Point?
Teens are naturally - and wonderfully - questioning and it's important to get their motivation set before things get serious if you want them to do their best. One of the upsides of disruption and stress of the last couple of years, is that it’s forced students to look more creatively at next steps after sixth form. University is definitely no longer considered the best or only route for ambitious students. Try and be open to ideas around creative foundation courses, apprenticeships or employment that will train them in different ways and motivate them to work towards a less one-size-fits all goal.