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Southport Reporter®

Edition No. 213

Date:- 07 August 2005

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A Levels don't panic

ON Thursday, August 18 A level exam results will come through the door, whatever your expectations and plans, you need to be prepared. Follow this step-by-step guide to help you through.

1. Don't panic! 

2. Be around! Don't go on holiday at the time the results come out. Admission tutors want to talk to you and not your parents.

3. If your results match or are higher than your university place offer -congratulations - you're in!

4. If your results are not as high as the offer you hold, check if your firm or insurance choice will still offer you a place on the course you want. You can only enter clearing if you are rejected by the courses you hold offers for.

5. Get busy! Although you will need a Clearing Entry Form (CEF) to get a firm offer through clearing, you don't need to wait for the form before starting to talk to admission tutors to see whether your results are likely to get you an offer.

6. Be quick! This year vacancies will be published on the same day as the A level results are received in schools, and students will be checking the lists to see what is available. Popular courses will have few, if any vacancies and any that there are will be snapped up quickly. 

7. Think laterally! If you don't have the grades to get into the most popular courses or universities it may still be possible to achieve the same outcome by taking a course which is less popular, but still covers similar material.

8. However, be careful! Don't be panicked into taking the first offer that comes along. Talk it over with your parents and your careers advisers. You can always re-take your exams next year if you can't find a course through clearing that is right for you.

9. Be prepared! Have your UCAS number, the grades you received in your exams and if possible a copy of your UCAS form, whenever you phone a university. If you speak to an admission tutor during clearing you may well be interviewed over the phone when you call. Having your details in front of you it gives you confidence. You may also need to convince the tutor of your motivation towards the course you are applying for if this is very different from your earlier application.

10. Try to visit! If things go well when you contact an admission tutor try to get to see the institution as quickly as possible. Not only can you often take your CEF with you and get it processed straight away, you also have the opportunity to look around and get a 'feel' for the place.

11. Be persistent! The situation in clearing changes hour by hour. Sometimes you will find a course that was full will have a vacancy a few days later as someone has dropped out.

12. Don't panic!

John Wright, Student Recruitment Officer at the University of Surrey explains:- "Clearing gives you another opportunity to find a course where there are still vacancies. If you are to find a place which is right for you through clearing then you must plan your strategy and talk to friends and advisers. You can find the right course through clearing if you go about it in the right way, but you can be panicked into taking the wrong course or studying in the wrong place if you don't think the options through."

Dismay at Drink Sales to Teens

ALMOST half of all retailers surveyed in Liverpool, as part of a crackdown on sales to underage drinkers, were willing to sell to under 18s. In the first 3-day operation of the summer-long campaign, Trading Standards Officers, accompanied by 15 and 16 year old volunteers visited 21 off-licenses across Liverpool. 9 shops sold lager, cider and alcopops to the volunteers without any attempt to check their age. Trading Standards Officers, who say they are dismayed by the high level of traders willing to sell alcohol to under18s are now evaluating the evidence gathered and will be looking to take legal action against them if the evidence warrants it.

These sales are against a background of extensive work by both Merseyside Police and Liverpool Trading Standards to help off-licences avoid selling alcohol to underage teenagers. The "Knock Back Pack" provides guidance and a training resource for licensees and staff and "Challenge 21" suggests that anyone who appears to be under 21 is asked for photographic identification before a sale is made.

In addition to prosecution, shops who sell alcohol to under 18s risk losing their license and the Police, Trading Standards and the Licensing Authority co-operate closely where this is appropriate.

Cllr Richard Oglethorpe, Executive Member with responsibility for healthy living, said:- "This is a very disturbing result. It is the start of the summer holidays and children with time on their hands can be tempted to try and buy alcohol. The effect on the health and the safety of these young people is considerable and there is also the risk of anti-social behaviour if they have been drinking. This campaign will be continuing throughout the summer and off-licenses must redouble their efforts to make sure that they only sell alcohol to people over 18. They have been warned of the consequences if they do not heed this."


BUSINESS confidence has declined in every UK region for the first time since 2003, as new orders continued to fall - according to the latest quarterly Regional Trends Survey published today (Monday) by the CBI and Experian.

The fall in new manufacturing orders in the three months to July, continues a trend that began at the start of this year - but is now driven exclusively by the continuing slowdown in the domestic economy. By contrast, export orders, which had declined in the 2 previous surveys, rose in 5 regions in the past quarter, and stabilized in 2 others.

However, in 4 regions; Northern Ireland, the South East & London, Wales and East of England, the decline in export orders continues unabated. 2 of these regions - Northern Ireland and the South East & London - are extremely pessimistic about prospects for export orders in the months ahead. This is in stark contrast to expectations of a further rise in five regions, led by the East Midlands, Scotland and Yorkshire & the Humber.

The widespread downturn in new orders was especially marked in the South East & London, which registered its sharpest decline in orders for seven years. The region appears to be among the worst affected by the weakness in domestic demand that has emerged in recent months, and has also failed to benefit from the upturn in exports seen in some other areas. All sub-sectors of manufacturing in the region are affected, with the result that overall confidence, export optimism, output trends, employment decline and investment plans in the South East & London are among the most negative in the UK.

Trends in manufacturing output over the past 3 months were very mixed. Wales experienced a sharp decline, the first in almost 2 years, and Yorkshire & the Humber also saw a sharp fall. But the South West saw an encouraging rise and the West Midlands, after a year of steep falls, saw a modest increase - reflecting strong performances in the metal manufacturing and food, drink & tobacco sub-sectors. Scotland reported a modest increase in output for the 5th survey in a row, and there was also an increase in the North East, the first for over a year.

Scotland and Wales appear to have escaped the worst of the problems facing UK manufacturing. In Scotland, there was an upswing in total orders, employment and output in the past 3 months and investment plans are much less downbeat than in most other parts of the UK.

Despite the sharp decline in output in Wales in the past 3 months, the proportion of firms working below capacity is far lower than in the rest of the UK; employment has increased in each of the past five surveys and respondents expect further job creation in the next three months. Investment intentions for plant & machinery and buildings are firmly positive, in contrast to deep pessimism elsewhere in the UK.

While employment contraction at the UK level has moderated compared with the steep falls seen in 2002 and 2003, the pace of job losses in manufacturing continues unabated in the South East & London, East of England and Northern Ireland. These regions, along with the West Midlands and the North West, are unsurprisingly, much more pessimistic about the employment outlook than the rest of the UK.

According to Experian estimates based on the survey results, a further 18,000 jobs will be lost to manufacturing nationally in the current quarter, a large figure but still well short of the losses seen during the steep recession of 2001 to 2003. As in recent quarterly surveys, the South East & London is set to bear the largest absolute fall (7,000) and the largest decrease in percentage terms (1.1%) followed by the North West (4,000 job losses) and the West Midlands and Yorkshire & the Humber (3,000 job losses each).

Peter Gutmann of Experian said:- "The survey reaffirms the bleak official data, showing manufacturing output falling in the first six months of the year. New orders have been undermined by the slowdown in UK retail sales, continued import penetration and stagnant exports to the eurozone. The decline in overall business confidence recognizes that these difficulties are likely to persist over the next few months. Some encouragement can be drawn however, from the increase in non-eurozone exports following sterling's easing against the dollar, and continuing robust growth in North America and newly industrializing Asia. Most regions expect exports to pick up in the next three months."

Doug Godden, CBI Head of Economic Analysis, said:- "This generally gloomy survey offers a slight silver lining, with the growth of companies' unit costs becoming more manageable. The South West has reported a reduction whilst everywhere else outside of Scotland and Wales has seen slower cost growth. Yet, despite this, firms are not enjoying a pick-up in profits, with their pricing power weakened in the face of tough conditions in the domestic market. Whereas, in April, factory gate prices increased everywhere outside the South West, this time, 8 of the 11 regions are reporting net price reductions."

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