Your A-level results are a disappointment — is there anything you can do about it?


It’s that time of year again when hundreds of thousands of anxious teenagers receive their A-level results and for those that didn’t quite get the grades they hoped for, it can be a time of terrible stress.

If you are one of those unfortunate enough not to have achieved the grades you required, the plans you had for the career you were hoping to pursue may feel as though they are placed in serious jeopardy. Your exam results will determine whether you can make the transition into higher education by attending your preferred university. Or, if you never intended to continue with your studies, they could make a difference to the kind of job that’s now available to you.

The first thing to realise is that you still have options. Your initial step should be to speak with your subject teacher and/or the exams office staff at your school or college on results day, which this year is on Thursday, 17 August.

How to challenge you’re A-level results

If you have reason to believe that your performance in your exams was adversely affected by external circumstances you may be eligible to seek redress through the Special Consideration process. The Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) is a membership organisation that represents the seven largest national awarding bodies offering qualifications in the UK.

JCQ defines Special Consideration to be a post-examination adjustment to your mark/grade, which reflects temporary illness/injury or some other event outside of your control at the time of the assessment, which has had, or is reasonably likely to have had, a material effect on your ability to take an assessment or demonstrate your normal level of attainment in an assessment.

Once the results have been published, applications will only be accepted in the most exceptional circumstances. There are strict deadlines to adhere to and you should contact your school or college immediately.

The school/college, in its capacity as an examination centre, can submit enquiries about results. Examples of the available avenues of enquiries are:

* A clerical check: this includes check that all parts of the script have been marked; the totalling of marks; the recording of marks;

* Moderation check: this reviews the original moderation to ensure that the assessment criteria have been fairly, reliably and consistently applied; and

* A review of the marking.

Other possibilities

In some cases, there may be options to undertake re-sits.  It’s also possible that your university may agree to defer your place till the following year. If you don’t get a place on your chosen university course and you want to apply for a different course through the Clearing process you can consult with the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).

If you find yourself in this situation, talking to a specialist team of education lawyers such as Match Solicitors can help you to decide which way to proceed. So, if your results were disappointing and you’re in two minds as to what to do about it, why not give us a call?

Anita Chopra is a director at education law specialists Match Solicitors and is a regular media commentator on legal issues arising in education. She has a “huge breadth of experience across all kinds of education” and “has a great instinct for cases.”