Today's news, tomorrow’s lesson - A-grade stress

“Football manager syndrome,” is what some people call the phenomenon. School leaders being fired after just one set of bad results is one of the main reasons why heads and their staff get so stressed in the build up to A-level and GCSE results day.

Today's news, tomorrow’s lesson - 16 August

A-level results are more than a game of two halves


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“Football manager syndrome,” is what some people call the phenomenon. School leaders being fired after just one set of bad results is one of the main reasons why heads and their staff get so stressed in the build up to A-level and GCSE results day.

Heads, teachers and their representatives have opened up in this Friday’s TES about the build-up to results season and how they cope with worrying about its cliff-edge nature for their students and the reputation of their schools.

Malcolm Trobe, deputy general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, and former head of Malmesbury School, Wiltshire pointed out that “meeting floor targets can be potentially critical for the school and for staff job security.

“Schools missing out could be converted into academies, with more and more heads losing their jobs, even if schools are improving. It’s football manager syndrome.

“Failure to perform means questions for the school leadership, but there is also pressure because you know pupils depend on the results to make their next step.”

Trobe’s comments were echoed by Karen Cooke, head of social sciences at Haringey Sixth Form Centre in North London. “The stress of waiting for A-level results can take over the summer holidays. This year I’m going in the day before so I can look at results and identify students I need to make sure I see, or call if they don’t come in.

“These results are not just about going to university, they are about improving the quality of their lives. As their teacher that can be overwhelming to me.”

Even classroom teachers are affected. Helen Rogerson, head of science at Westonbirt School in Gloucestershire. “As a teacher your emotions can be great or horrendous. When pupils have done well and are really excited it is great to see their hard work pay off.

“But there is also pressure when students drop a grade and can’t get into their chosen universities,” she added. “On the morning of results day I like to go in early and look up the grades on the exam board website so I can mentally prepare myself.”

Related resources


A-level results day toolkit

  • Find everything you need to get through results day with this TES guide, including news, resources and helpful links.

Terminator A2: Judgement Day

  • Tom Bennett chronicles the stresses and strains of being an A-level teacher.

Results day stress clinic

  • If you're worried about what results day holds, have a look at some advice for getting through it, including a practical guide to managing your mental wellbeing.

A-level results day: clearing

  • Take some of the stress out of results day with this handy guide from THE and TES designed to demystify this year's clearing process.

Further news resources


First News front page

  • Help your pupils understand the features of the front page of a newspaper.

Write all about it

  • Get students creating their own news report with this step-by-step guide

What is the News?

  • A sociological and media perspective on what makes an event 'newsworthy'.

On the box

  • Help pupils to write their own TV news broadcast with this handy PowerPoint.

Structuring stories

  • A scheme of work to help students structure news stories.

In the news this week


A women-only city is being built in Saudi Arabia in a bid to allow more females to pursue careers.

A strong gold medal haul for Team GB during London 2012 has led to a busy week for the Royal Mail, which is painting postboxes across the country gold in honour of the success of Britain’s athletes.

Headlines were generated with the story that the government had scrapped a target for schools to provide two hours a week of PE.

A homeless 16-year-old was forced to live in a tent for nearly nine months because of the failings of two local councils, an inquiry has found.



In the news archive index

First News


15th August, First News Weekly News Bulletin, in association with Sky News, is a three minute round-up of the news every week - available every Wednesday. For previous weeks' bulletins, go to our First News website: www.firstnews.co.uk