Arcana: Heisenberg’s cat and the A level results

An interesting 24 hours leading up to A level results.  I thought it interesting to blog now because we won’t know what Abigail’s results are for another hour but already we have all sorts of interesting findings. Like the fact that the UCAS system has already shown that she has a place at Birmingham.

Clue 1/ Karen runs the marketing and PR at another school and the press release has taken extra time this year because the results (which the schools received yesterday) are shall we say? less positive than previous year. Government health warning – the grades can go down not relentlessly up. Rather like the coaching team at an England rugby game – teams of teachers have been sitting down with the laptops compiling (massaging?) the stats and picking out the stragglers who are going to need help through clearance. Looks like this year is going to be a tough one.

Clue 2/ Birmingham University postcard pops through the door yesterday (perfect timing)  with the headline Look what’s waiting for you at Birmingham.  The universities get the results 2 days before so they can work out who they send immediate offers to and who has to go through clearing.   “While you stand on the brink of your future” – and concluding with “we wish you the best with your results”. Cocky of them isn’t it? But there’s also the urban legends of confirmation letters mailed out to entire mailing lists even those who went on a visiting day to a university and didn’t actually apply. So is this Birmingham jumping the gun? Or making sure that if anyone has a choice of universities that the card pumps up so much that they give Birmingham the priority. Clever. Conspiracy theory abounds..

Clue 3/ New on the radio first thing – press release from the top – it’s going to be tough this year – they’re going to mark harder so less pupils will get through. It is announced that there will be no limits on university intakes of pupils with 2 As and a B or higher. But anyone falling short will be at the mercy of clearance.  There’s a whole industry in ferment here.

Clue 4/ UCAS website has an acceptance for her from Birmingham. Wonderful (or could it be a clerical error? Wonders cynical me)  Facebook is now in overdrive, so is texting – the entire class is sharing whether they have received acceptances or not.  We start the celebrations.  Karen has a press release on the skids. All she needs to know is who the stars are – the teachers are still bent over their laptops.

Still no grades yet.

Of course once we know there will be a whole new set of options to consider. Even if she has got a place in Birmingham. Heisenberg’s cat still needs to be got out of the box whether the poison or the cat were real. So for now ignorance is still relative bliss.

I suppose there is no best way to orchestrate this sound chamber of speculation. Well done Aby – we look forward to the small printout with anticipation even if we apparently already know the outcome.  And seeing as how all newspapers print pictures of pretty A level students celebrating results – (why don’t you keep a score of the boys in the pictures? – you won’t find many)  here’s a photo of Aby last week not with her results but with her newborn cousin Sennen.



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