Exam results day plan for parents in Northern Ireland

Jayne Thompson
10 August, 2021 : 08:00
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Are you noticing your heart skipping an extra beat every time someone mentions exam results day, especially with the news this week on how grades are being allocated in Northern Ireland? Be assured that your child is probably feeling that same extra beat and we know that bottling up stress is not helpful. So organise a walk or some time away from the rest of the household to talk to your child today and find out what their fears are (if any) for results day and then together look at what you can do to help face those fears if they become real.

It may also be useful to ensure your child has the number of local support groups such as Childline or Young Minds who are very experienced in talking to young people and helping them process and deal with their concerns over exam results.

Check out the Wellbeing leaflet launched by Pure Mental NI and CCEA and share it with your young person.

The most important thing you can do as a parent is to provide reassurance to your child. Education is everything but education does not stop at school or once you receive your results. There are always options, so start to discuss these today if you haven’t already.

PARENTS – try to be the voice of calm even though inside your stomach is like a washing machine on full spin! Your child needs your reassurance today.

Be organised

Being prepared for the morning is key – here’s some handy hints and tips:

  • Has your child got the information (PIN) you need if accessing grades online?
  • Do you know what time the grades are being released at?
  • Have you got help to keep the younger children out of the way so that the young person receiving the results can have your undivided attention for when they access their grades and hopefully celebrate the results?
  • Agree with your child in advance how and to whom you will communicate their results, regardless of the grades
  • Be aware of the appeals process and where to go if you're looking for support. In the first instance talk to your school as they will have the options available
  • Try to get breakfast in before the results are due and take this time to sit with your child, take deep breaths and be ready to face the flashing up of the results 
Don’t panic!

There are alternatives for your child if they don’t get the grades they’re hoping for. Here’s our top tips for preparation:

  • If you can, pre-organise a meeting with your child’s school/teacher to discuss their results and hopefully this will be a meeting to thank the teacher for all their support in enabling your child achieve the grades they have so wished for and worked hard for
  • A number to keep at hand - in Northern Ireland, CCEA have opened up a results helpline today (Tuesday 10th August) and the number for it is – 028 9026 1260. On results day it is open from 8:30am
  • Have to hand a phone number of the university, or further education college so you can talk to them about next steps and if they’re making any exceptions given the current circumstances
  • Read up about the UCAS Clearing system, which shows the universities and colleges which still have spaces. Talk to your child about what other courses they may be willing to consider and where
  • Think about what a gap year might look like for your child and have that at hand to talk about. If they want to re-sit exams have some ideas what they could do for this year so to give to them as possible options. Also add this to the list for school – can they return to school for the year if doing re-sits?

Have a plan in place that ensures you will be doing something nice with family members and/or friends later that evening so regardless of the result, you are celebrating how well the child has done under extreme circumstances and to remind them how proud you are of them.

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Jayne Thompson
Head of Northern Ireland, Parentkind

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