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There’s been some great advice in the media today preparing A level students for ‘Plan B’ if their results don’t go the way they hope next week. I remember the day of my A Level results well….. I didn’t get the grades I wanted for my first choice and it was all hands on deck to find a different course. In that moment I felt the pressure to take life changing decisions against the clock and trying to fend off the feelings of anxiety and expectation.

UCAS Clearing matches applicants to university places yet to be filled. It is a great and invaluable system.

I spent hours on the phone and ultimately got my foot in the door at Sheffield Hallam University before transferring to the law degree I wanted a year later.

Clare Marchant, Head of UCAS has recently warned that students who find themselves in a similar situation have been advised to be “pretty quick off the mark” because the competition for available spaces is likely to be tougher this year.

I do have some concerns though that the primary source of contact is telephone based.

Telephone communication is not possible for deaf people, and there appears to be no real time alternative option for British Sign Language users other than Text Relay, or appointing someone else to act for them.

Online guidance through You Tube clips is captioned but not available in BSL.

Telephone conversation is also problematic for people with speech difficulties who may find the process extremely difficult especially under pressure.

UCAS does give an opportunity to register for support online and in advance but there is no email address meaning that you will have to contact them by Facebook or X: or @ucas_online or have an advocate call on your behalf.

My recommendation, as Plan A for Plan B is to contact UCAS now to explain your disability, and your need for a reasonable adjustment to communications on the day. If you cannot access the service and lose options for obtaining a space for Clearing then this may set your career options back by delaying a University start. The Equality Act allows more preferential treatment to disabled people to allow for a level playing field.

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