For Thomas Pyle, from Hertfordshire, results day did not start well. Having been predicted Bs at A-Level, he opened his envelope at his local college that morning to see that he had been awarded much lower grades than anyone had expected.
“My teachers just said, ‘we don’t understand what’s happened’, and all I could say is that I didn’t understand it either,” said Thomas.
“In those first moments it was just uncontrolled shock. I didn’t know what to think, and I just kept wondering what I would do. I was embarrassed about telling my family. All my friends were celebrating, and I was trying to process this huge disappointment. I just felt panic.”
When Thomas did tell his family, they were very supportive, and once he had recovered from the initial shock, he began to look at his options.
Having always dreamed of being a teacher, Thomas had applied for a range of teaching degrees and received good offers, but then his results changed everything.
“I contacted a few universities on results day and asked them to put me in to Clearing,” he said. “Some of them didn’t get back to me at all, but the University of Worcester were really responsive, helpful and supportive, and when you’re feeling like your world has been turned upside down, that’s really important. They were willing to help even though there was a chance I wouldn’t end up studying with them, which meant a lot.”
“I also requested a re-mark on my A-Level results,” he added, “and Worcester said that they would accept me if my marks improved slightly.”
Thomas then had a nervous wait of a couple of days before his re-marked grades were ready, during which time he began the process of applying to college in case he could not improve his marks sufficiently to secure a university place.
“It was a tense few days waiting to see how the grades would come back and wondering if I’d have to do another year in college to get enough points for university,” he said.
In the end Thomas’ grades were upgraded following a re-mark, and he was accepted on to the primary teaching pathway at Worcester. Looking back, he feels that the best advice he can give anyone who finds their plans have gone awry on results day, is to give yourself time to think.
“When I first saw my results I just thought ‘this is the end, I don’t know what I’ll do’, but actually that isn’t the case,” he said. “You have to give yourself time to think, and to breathe. Even before Worcester accepted me, I was looking at other routes in to teaching. It just takes a bit of time to realise that it’s not all over if the results don’t go your way. You have to give yourself that time.”
Thomas is now a perfectly happy university student, just one year away from graduation, all the stress of those difficult few days now far behind him.
“I love it here at Worcester,” he said. “I am very much enjoying my course, but I also love getting involved with all the clubs and societies and really feeling a part of the university community.”
“The University also helped me find out why things had gone so badly wrong with my A-Level results,” he added. “When I came here, I explained that I had always struggled with tests. They suggested I should get assessed for dyslexia, and it turned out that I had been living with quite a severe learning difficulty for years without even realising it.”
“Now I know about my dyslexia, I have various coping strategies and good support from the University, and my grades have picked up.”
“If only I’d known about it during my A-Levels,” he added.
In fact, Thomas is so happy in Worcester, he is considering returning to the City to teach once he has graduated.
“I’ve definitely fallen in love with the Worcester area,” he said. “Worcester has all the atmosphere of a City, but coming from a village like I do, I also like the way Worcester gives off the village vibes too.”
“As a student you just feel safe here in Worcester,” he added.
“When I qualify, I would like to go back home to Hitchin and teach for a few years in my local community, but I can definitely see myself moving back to Worcester to teach in the future.”