Eagerly awaiting exam results

Many students are anxiously awaiting their GCSE or A Level results this month. This year has been like no other and students all over the country have missed out on taking their exams due to lock down. This means that teachers and lecturers have had to grade pupils based on the work they have done so far. For many students who struggle in exam situations this news has been very welcomed, but for others who maybe didn’t have the best start to the year, they may find themselves missing out.

This last six months may have been very difficult for some students, especially if they find working from home hard or don’t have a great home life. They may of struggled to get all the coursework done that they needed to and may of found it hard to manage their time effectively. There will be a lot of catching up required when students do return but for those who were in their final year, its now straight into the real world of job hunting.

The grades the students obtain may be needed to help them progress into further education or possibly into an apprenticeship or fulltime job. Universities have set grades that they expect students to achieve to be allowed on to a course and if these are not met this month, then the students will have to go through what is known as clearing.

Adult learning options

Going back into education can see like a backstep for some, but often you must go back to be able to go forward. Investing the time to go back in to education can open up a whole new world to you and allow you to go in to careers that were simply not available to you before.  When it comes to working or further education after school, you often have a number of options open to you. The government now states that any child reaching the age of 16 must stay in full-time education, for example at a college, start an apprenticeship or traineeship or spend 20 hours or more a week working or volunteering, while in part-time education or training. This is until they reach the age of 18.

If this law was not in play when you left school, you may have chosen to not to stay on at school and complete GCSE’s or do A-levels. This may mean that you do not have the qualifications to go straight into a degree.  Often if you can do a simple one year access course at college which will get you back in to learning and give you an idea of what adult learning is like. you may decide that a college setting is more for you so you chose to enrol in one of those.

Employing school leavers

With many students looking like they may finish their school year early this year, there is already a number of people looking for work. The main issue that school leavers are going to face is that there is likely to be a lot more competition for jobs as lots of people have found themselves out for work due to the lockdown situation.
As an employer, when you look to recruit a new member of staff you will need to think carefully about what skills and experience they need to have if any. If the job requires little skill and experience then you may decide to employ a school leaver.
Some employers are reluctant to employ school leavers, thinking that they may be unreliable and require too much time and resources to train them up as they are not used to the work environment, but this is often far from the case. Many young people who leave school to work want to find themselves a career and are often willing to go above and beyond to prove themselves. You can also then train them up in the way that you want them to work rather than have to try and retain someone that is sued to working a different way for another company.

What are my responsibilities as a supply teacher?

When you are working as a supply teacher either for a school that you are familiar with or through an agency it is not always clear what your responsibilities are beyond the obvious ones of teaching the class and making sure that safeguarding guidelines are followed to the letter. Some schools have a clear policy on what they expect of a supply teacher but many haven’t so if you want to be offered work on a regular basis it is important that you create the right impression and fulfil the duties expected of you in a particular school.

Some teachers whose classes you cover will leave work for the children to do and expect this to be carried out as their guidance. This is especially the case with older children who often have a fixed curriculum to cover in a given timeframe. If this is the case it is important to carry out the teacher’s instructions as fully as possible. A brief note to the teacher outlining how the day went is a valuable way to communicate but should focus on the positive aspects if possible.

Sometimes if a supply teacher is needed to cover for an unexpected absence no work has been allocated so it is a good idea to have lessons up your sleeve that can be adapted to the age group you are teaching. Always mark any work that either you or the teacher has set, checking with the school marking policy or a senior member of staff if in doubt as to the level of marking required.

How to cope with exam anxiety

For some people the thought of sitting exams fills them with dread and prevents them from achieving their academical potential as they avoid studying subjects that require a final exam assessment. There are however steps that can be taken to minimise this anxiety and make the prospect of sitting an exam less stressful overall.

Being well prepared for the exam by having revised appropriately can help to boost confidence as can being part of a study group where revision is shared by students undertaking the same course.

On the day of the exam it is vital to have had sufficient sleep the night before even though this may seem difficult. By using relaxation techniques and meditation this is achievable. Eating a healthy but light meal is a good idea and keeping hydrated with water or juice is also advisable.

Breathing exercises have been shown to relieve anxiety symptoms and instructions for how to perform them correctly can be found online. Arriving ten minutes early to the exam location is advisable as nothing builds tension like rushing in at the last minute but avoid talking to others who may be showing anxiety instead play a game on your phone or read a magazine.

Remember that most people feel nervous before tests and reward yourself with a treat when the exam is over.