How exam results day will be different this year


A-level and GCSE exam results days have always filled students and staff with dread and excitement in equal measure.

Normally, a few weeks after leaving the exam hall for the final time, students will have had the opportunity to relax with friends and family and tried to make the many hours of study a distant memory.

Now, in mid-August, they have to calm their anticipation ahead of receiving their results and what this means for their future. University? 6th Form? Apprenticeships? Gap Year? However, this year will be different still.

GCSE results day 2020 
Pencil and pencil sharpener on top of workbook

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, exams were cancelled this year and the government confirmed that students were going to be given speculative grades. Exam boards were to work with teachers to come up with a ‘Centre Assessed Grade’ to be given to students. This involved an assessment of classwork, mock exams, and non-exam assessment.

However, two days before A-level results were due to be released, the government unexpectedly announced students in England would be able to use grades from mock exams.

This had led to a ‘triple lock’ approach for both A-level and GCSE students, and they will be able to accept their Centre Assessed Grades, appeal to receive the grades from mock exams, or even sit their exams again when schools reopen.

So how will results day look this year?

Schools receive their results the day before they are released to students, so the Wednesday is a day of preparation. In our role working with schools this support involves writing media statements, press releases, arranging media opportunities, all under embargo for Thursday morning so students can receive their results first.

Performance tables are not going to be published this year and we know that very few schools will publish their headline results. Communications will focus instead on the individual and highlighting student successes.

What is yet to be seen is the impact of the government’s announcement on August 11 and the reaction from schools. What will it mean for student’s university placements?

What is known is that it is crucially important that schools can make sure those students who have been affected by the coronavirus restrictions feel valued and celebrated despite the unprecedented situation. This is a time to mark success, just in a different way.

With celebrations affected this year, we are also calling upon schools to join our #Jump4GCSEs campaign on Thursday 20th August, so student, staff and parents efforts don’t go unnoticed – find out more about our #Jump4GCSEs campaign here.

Top tips for schools celebrating A-level and GCSE results day 2020

  • This will be a ‘results day like no other’ so photos and videos will be useful to mark the event for future year groups to look at – students and their families can submit photos for the school to share
  • Share photos of results being opened on social media and share photos with media as they may not be able to attend the school
  • Arrange for broadcast media to attend student’s doorsteps if they cannot attend the school – alternatively, video call interviews are becoming popular with reporters
  • For students who need advice on their plans, consider booking video chats or set up an advice phone line or email for call-backs
  • Create a special newsletter including as many photos as possible – this is a year to remember so mark this for future years to see how well you adapted
  • The headteacher should record a round-up video on the afternoon of exam results days, thank students and staff for coping so well with the situation, shout about the individual successes
  • Hold a leavers’ assembly online – hosted through a video call through Teams/Zoom – ask teachers to gather fun memories from the year and speak about them. Include some awards – serious and fun. Parents can also join the broadcast
  • Postpone your party – look to hold it once we are able to celebrate in proper style – it could be a media story in the future

Sam Ladds – Senior Account Executive


To talk to the Athene Communications team about PR and marketing for your school or Multi-Academy Trust call us on 01733 207340 or email PR and Education Director Ryan Hyman at [email protected]