For my blog this month, I thought I would share with readers a little of the behind-the-scenes operation that we undertake each August here at John Taylor for both Sixth Form and Year 11 students receiving results.

We are all aware of the envelopes being distributed to students – often accompanied by equally-anxious parents and friends – on the third and fourth Thursdays of the month. What perhaps is less well-publicised is the work undertaken around the issuing of those results.

On the preceding Wednesdays, the examination data is downloaded by the school, checked and processed. Of course, it is strictly embargoed until the following day, with only a few key personnel being privy to its contents. An initial analysis is carried out at both a macro level (i.e. how well the school has done) and at a micro level (how well have individual students achieved compared to their potential and their aspirations for the future). The latter is most important, because this helps us to identify which students may need some support and guidance upon receipt of unexpected results, which could be worse or indeed better than anticipated.

On Thursday, a significant number of staff are present to issue results and provide informed and sensitive guidance. With clearing for university places opening at 8 a.m. my colleagues, equipped with the university guide on vacant places from today’s newspaper, the Internet, and a phone, sit with students and work through options with them. A comparable process is undertaken for students in Year 11 who need to look towards alternative course choices at Sixth Form, college, or apprenticeship options.

For some students in both weeks, this process will continue on into Friday. As I type on Friday morning, several students are in dialogue with staff to finalise their destinations.

When I compare this with my own experience of working in other schools and indeed of receiving my own A-Levels, it saddens me to state that this degree of commitment and care is far from universal. I recall from my own school days a friend of mine who had not got the required grades and was basically left distraught with only his friends to provide consolation. Whilst we did our best to mask our own joy at our success and support him, what we could not do was offer tangible and informed advice on what he should do next. He was cut adrift, no longer the responsibility of the school. I can only speculate whether meaningful guidance for him at his most vulnerable hour may have made a difference. What is clear was that at this most defining of moments he was essentially alone.

In the ‘news’ section of our website, you will be able to read our press release for our Sixth Form results (and next week we will publish the equivalent for Year 11). We’re delighted with the macro, but we know that John Taylor will have another set of results this time next year. At the micro, these results are life-changing for our young people, and I am proud of the work they have put in to their studies and the constant guidance from my colleagues – right through to today – that has led them to great success.

Thanks for reading.

M Donoghue
Principal

Posted by JTMAT