Results Day 2020 – A Levels and equivalent

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Thursday 13th August is A Level results day. It’s always an anxious time but this year there are more questions than ever. Sarah Traynor from our careers team looks at some of the questions you may have in the run up to results day and provides some of her top tips on getting prepared so you’re ready to act to achieve your further education or training goals. 

What’s your top tip for results day?

That’s easy – make a plan! You’re bound to feel stressed on the day so think ahead and make a list beforehand of all the things that might happen. You might not get your grades, you might do better than expected, you might change your mind. You need to prepare for each situation. You can:

              • Use ucas.com to find out which courses still have places
              • Do some research and prepare your own shortlist
              • Make a note of university helpline numbers (published on their websites)
              • Look up your UCAS Track login details so you’ve got them to hand.

Above all, keep the day free. If you need to contact universities, they will want to speak to you, not your parents or teachers.


How will I get my results?
Check this with your school or college. They are all working out ways of doing this while following safe distancing rules.

Remind me how they’ve worked out my grades.
Your teachers submitted assessed grades, based on various factors. These have been standardised by the exam boards into calculated grades.

Will the grades look different?
No, they will look the same as any other year.

What if I’m not happy with my grades?
Appeals are allowed but in limited circumstances. Start by talking to your school or college as they normally undertake the appeal on your behalf.

You will also be able to re-sit any subjects you’re not happy with in the autumn.

What if I re-sit in the autumn and get an even lower grade?
Don’t worry, if that happens, the higher grade will stand.

Would I get the re-sit result in time to start university this year?
Possibly not, it’s estimated that A Level re-sit results will be published before Christmas and GCSEs in January (for English and maths) or February 2021. Universities have said they will try to be flexible but speak to them before you decide.

What if I’ve taken vocational qualifications?
Calculated results are being awarded wherever possible, but there are complications if there needs to be a workplace assessment. If it hasn’t been possible to either do the assessment safely or adapt it, then these results are being delayed.

I’ve got a conditional offer for university. What happens when I get my grades?
If you get the grades, you’re in! Log into UCAS Track and it will confirm your place.

If you don’t get the grades, stay calm, log into Track and check your status. If you’ve only just missed the grades, the course may still take you.

The university may make you a ‘Changed course offer’, such as a foundation year. You can accept or decline so check it out first.

If Track says your firm (first) choice has turned you down, but you have met your insurance grades, then your place will be confirmed there.

If Track hasn’t been updated, ring the university admissions department. Helplines should be open from early morning.

If Track says you’re in Clearing it means both your firm and insurance choices have turned you down. Again, keep calm – there are expected to be some good options in Clearing this year. However, places can fill up fast, so keep a clear head but move quickly. This is where all that preparation can pay off!

How does Clearing work?
All the information is on www.ucas.com but briefly, use the Clearing search tool to find courses with vacancies; check out the course and then ring the university / college and ask them to consider you.

UCAS has a new, optional service called ‘Clearing Plus’ which makes course suggestions based on your original application. Click on ‘See matches’ to view them. However, if you want to explore other courses, you can just browse all vacancies.

What happens when I ring the university?
Let’s take a step back!  Before you ring, do some research into the course and the university. Even better – do the research before results day!

When you ring, be prepared to wait as lines may be busy. When you get through, state your Clearing number (which will be on Track) and your UCAS ID. They will look up your application and they may ask you a few questions. Treat it like an interview and be prepared to explain why you want to do that course at that university. The aim is to get an informal offer.

Find out if there’s an open event – these may not happen in the usual way but there may be a virtual event or tour instead.

Once you are sure you want the place, apply for it formally through Track.

If I get the grades but I’ve changed my mind can I apply for another course?
If you have met and exceeded your offer, (e.g. achieved AAA when you needed AAB) then you can use UCAS Adjustment, which lets you apply for other courses without first giving up your place.

If you don’t qualify for Adjustment, you must turn down your place before you can enter Clearing. If you’re sure you want to do this, select ‘Decline your place’ on Track.

I didn’t apply for university – is there still time?
Yes, if you haven’t applied or if you applied but aren’t holding any offers, you can use Clearing from 6th July.

I’m not sure I want to start university with so much going on. Will they hold the place until next year?
You need to ask the university. If your place is for this autumn, they are not obliged to hold it, in which case you would have to withdraw and re-apply for 2021.

Ok, but if I’ve got the grades, I’d get a place next year, wouldn‘t I?
Unless they defer your place, there are no guarantees. If a lot of students withdraw this autumn, there could be a big increase in applications for next year, especially as the number of 18-year-olds is set to start rising. Entry could be more competitive.

I just don’t know what to do!
We know it’s hard. This is a unique situation and we can’t be certain what’s going to happen. There isn’t a ‘one-size-fits-all‘ solution, but start by finding out what your university is planning to do, e.g. how much teaching will be online and how much will be face-to-face. Check what will happen on campus and in student halls, which facilities will be open and what safety measures will be in place. There looks likely to be disruption for at least a few months but on the other hand, if you really want to do the course, and especially if it’s selective, then weigh it all up.

What can I do if I take a gap year?
Good question! You need to use the time positively, partly for your own wellbeing, but also to support your UCAS application next year. You can get ideas to research from websites such as: www.ucas.com/alternatives-to-university and www.notgoingtouni.co.uk

Bear in mind that activities such as travel may be restricted, and that the job market is unstable. The government has just announced a Kickstart programme for unemployed 18-24-year-olds so look out for more details.

Your own community might be looking for volunteers, so visit: www.sheffieldvolunteercentre.org.uk

Is there any other way of getting a degree?
Higher and degree apprenticeships are jobs where you study for higher education qualifications with your fees paid. They’re in a range of work sectors. Search for vacancies on: www.gov.uk/apply-apprenticeship

For more help

Sheffield Futures Results Helpline:
Thursday 13th August, 1.00-4.00pm
Friday 14th August, 10.00-4.00pm
0114 201 6644

The National Careers Service Exam Results Helpline: 0800 100 900
UCAS Clearing: www.ucas.com
For calculated grades, appeals and autumn re-sits:
If the stress is getting to you, check out our Door 43 wellbeing service: www.sheffieldfutures.org.uk/i-need-help/door43

Good luck!

Our youth workers take to the streets to support young people across the city

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Sheffield Futures youth workers are taking to the streets to ensure young people get the support they need while youth centres remain closed due to lockdown and social distancing rules.

Our charity is commissioned by Sheffield City Council to lead 40 youth work sessions in 20 youth centres across the city, but these were temporarily closed in March due to lockdown.

Louise Ellison, Deputy Services Manager at Sheffield Futures, said: “Detached youth work in communities is something that’s happened for decades, but it’s needed now more than ever during this current crisis.

“It’s a really challenging time for everyone but for young people it’s particularly hard if they don’t have good relationships with their families and have been cut off from their support networks, like their school and friends.

“We know life isn’t going to return to normal quickly and that the impact on young people’s mental health and job prospects is going to be vast. So qualified youth workers who are trained to communicate with and support young people, so they can make positive choices and keep themselves safe, are going to be key.”

Our youth workers are currently out in communities each weekday evening supporting vulnerable young people and actively engaging with groups of young people who may have been identified by the police, local schools or other agencies as needing support.

Youth worker Amin Kassim, said: “Detached youth work enables youth workers to work with young people in a place they feel comfortable and on their terms.

“While our teams have been out and about in communities such as Darnall, Manor, Woodthorpe and Page Hall, our experience has been that there are some young people out in groups but they are doing the best to abide by social distancing rules on the whole.

“The government guidance can be confusing so we believe that many young people will be feeling uncertain about their responsibilities and perhaps anxious too.

“They need support right now, to understand the risks and their responsibilities, rather than judgement.”

If you are aware of groups of young people who would benefit from interaction with youth workers, contact [email protected]

Sheffield Futures is also providing youth work sessions online and through their social media channels, for more information visit www.sheffieldfutures.org.uk for more information.

Sheffield Futures signs Open Letter to Boris: “Kick start the economy by investing in jobs and people”

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Our charity, along with over 200 organisations across the UK, has signed an open letter to the Prime Minister, calling on the Government to publicly commit to a new Opportunity Guarantee.

The UK is experiencing the biggest economic crisis in 300 years, and on Tuesday 16th June latest figures are expected to show the highest rate of unemployment in over 100 years.

The new Opportunity Guarantee scheme, backed by some of the UK’s biggest employers, would help to kick start the UK’s economic recovery by investing in jobs of the future, helping people access the jobs market, and providing opportunities for young people.

The open letter, signed by cross industry partners – including Sheffield Futures, The Prince’s Trust, Heathrow Airport, Asda, universities and charities – has political backing from Metro Mayors Steve Rotheram (Liverpool City Region), Dan Jarvis (Sheffield City Region) and Jamie Driscoll (North of Tyne Combined Authority).

Together, over 200 voices called on Government to invest in a new Opportunity Guarantee that:

  • Promotes job creation by investing in the jobs that we need for the future
  • Doubles the capacity in services that help people into jobs, with greatest support for those facing disadvantage
  • Provides an education place, apprenticeship, or job for every young person

Commenting on the open letter, Lord Bob Kerslake said: “The message to Government is clear – with the Jobs retention Scheme winding up, we must invest in an Opportunities Guarantee. We need to create opportunities for people to skill up, and have a guaranteed role in our economic recovery, and we must put these plans in place now.”

You can view the letter in full here https://www.communitiesthatwork.co.uk/opportunity-guarantee/



Black Lives Matters online session: the voice of young people

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Our charity stands in support of the Black Lives Matters movement.

We recognise the tremendous pain caused by the murder of George Floyd, and the continued instances of systemic racism and police brutality. Following the peaceful protest in Sheffield this weekend, we know that many young people are forging the way for real change and wish to have their voices heard.

On Thursday 11th June 2 – 3pm, some of our youth workers and youth involvement team will be facilitating an online discussion. All young people aged 11 – 25 are welcome. 

The session will be an opportunity for young people to discuss the issues and the impact they have on young people in Sheffield.  We hope you will join us to share what you feel needs to be done to support change and challenge these issues locally, regionally and nationally.

If you wish to join us, please email [email protected] or contact us through any of our social media platforms to request the link.

How to look after yourself before, during and after a protest

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We stand in support of the #BlackLivesMatter movement and recognise that young people may wish to exercise their human right to protest in the coming days.

While at protests it’s natural to go through a range of emotions – you may feel intensely sad, exhilarated, angry, scared or happy. It’s really important that you take time to process these emotions and reach out to friends and family for support if you need it.

Chris, from our Door43 wellbeing team, talks us through how to look after your wellbeing before, during and after a protest. 

Take care and look after each other.

How will the coronavirus impact my application?

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Are you a young person wondering how the coronavirus pandemic and social distancing will impact your application for a full time course, apprenticeship or work based learning placement?

Our Careers Adviser Sarah talks us through the things you need to know in these quick four minute videos, including how to prepare for a telephone interview if you haven’t yet secured your place.


Supporting #BlackLivesMatter and young people

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Our charity stands in support of the #BlackLivesMatter movement. We recognise the pain that the murder of George Floyd, continued instances of police brutality and systemic racism is causing around the world and in our own city of Sheffield.

We’re here to support young people and be an ally against racism.

For any young people who are struggling with difficult emotions due to these recent events, our Door43 wellbeing service is here to support them. They can call 0808 275 8892 Monday to Friday 5pm-9pm and Saturday 9am to 9pm, to talk to one of our wellbeing practitioners.

Following the announcement of the Black Lives Matter protest in Sheffield, we recognised that young people may wish to exercise their human right to protest. We wanted to support young people to do this as safely as possible, particularly during this Covid-19 pandemic. Our Door43 team shared a video about how young people can look after their wellbeing before, during and after a protest, and our youth work team hosted an online session to discuss the issues and explore how young people can be agents of change.

Over the coming days and weeks our youth workers will also be engaging with young people in their communities through street-based youth work. If you have any concerns about young people in your community who may need support during this time, please contact [email protected]

For more information about the #BlackLivesMatter movement visit www.blacklivesmatter.com

Our fundraising appeal

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These are very difficult times for us all.

At Sheffield Futures we help young people who are vulnerable.

We know now more than ever that physical isolation is likely to have an impact on the mental health and wellbeing of young people, especially those who may already be struggling.

Door 43 is an emotional wellbeing service, helping 13-25 year olds with a range of issues – preventing existing conditions worsening to crisis levels, whilst improving coping mechanisms and increasing resilience.

This work could not be more relevant in these current challenging times.

Please help us to continue to help them by supporting our fundraising appeal.

An Eid message from youth worker Latifa

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Eid Mubarak! This is a short message from youth worker Latifa to all the young people who would normally attend our youth centres, and will be celebrating Eid this weekend.

Due to the current situation by COVID19, this years’ Eid celebration can still be a memorable one despite the restrictions advised by the government.

Instead of the usual routine of going to a massive congregation to pray the Eid prayer, it is appropriate to pray individually or with your family members at home due to the masjids (mosques) being closed. To connect to family members of other households, Zoom has been a growing way of communication as it has a clear interface where you can enjoy seeing and speaking to your loved ones.

Although this time can be frustrating, it is not all doom and gloom. We can use this quality time to bond closely to those loved ones. Think of all the things that previously occupied your time and prevented you from eating with those you value, board games, a short walk or even watching a movie with your children. This is a time to capitalise on this so that these new memories are created and last a lifetime.

I wish you and your loved ones a safe and wonderful Eid!

An Eid message from youth worker Mahmood

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With Eid approaching, our youth worker Mahmood has got this message to share with the young people who normally attend our youth centres across the city and celebrate this time.

Eid Mubarak. Hoping you’re safe and well.

This weekend sees Ramadan draw to a close, and the beginning of Eid Al-Fitr with Muslims all over the world celebrating. I’d like to share a few key messages with you. Keep safe!

Eid marks the end of a month of fasting from dawn to sunset.

Muslims are not only celebrating the end of fasting, but also thanking Allah for the Qur’an, which was first revealed towards the end of Ramadan and for the strength Allah has given them to exercise self-control throughout the previous month of fasting. Remember social distancing and go outdoors with household members only and connect with others virtually.

 Pay Zakat al-Fitr (Fitrana) before the Eid Prayer is read for each member of the family which this year is set at £4.00 per person. This is a compulsory donation given to a charity or to a poor person who is in need so they too can celebrate the Eid Festival. Wash and wear your best clothes and use perfume!

The day will start with prayers and a big meal is usually the main event. Now is the time to enjoy a home-cooked dinner or a take-away meal to be eaten at home. Please do not share food with your neighbours and extended family – it’s really important we don’t spread the virus!

In UK for the first time in modern times – the Eid Prayer will be offered at home. This is because the mosques are closed!

Lots of people normally celebrate Eid by exchanging gifts, visiting friends and family. However, this year, we will not visit our family and friends because we do not want to spread coronavirus. Please think about yourself and other people. Keep everyone safe!

Once again – Eid Mubarak from all at Sheffield Futures.

How you can help

Our charity is dedicated to helping Sheffield's young people to reach their full potential and achieve the best out of life, whatever their starting point. To help us to do more to support young people and communities we need your help. Just remember, every penny you donate will make a difference.