A-Levels Results Days: What Are Your Kid’s Options?

Education Parenting & Family Advice | by | 16th Aug 2017

Pensive student for A-Levels Results Day article

A-Levels Results Day can be stressful for young people. It can also be stressful for parents. We look at what options are available in case your young person didn’t get the results they were expecting.

A-Levels results day is just around the corner. Many young people, and the people who love them, will be waiting with baited breath to see what the future holds.

Some young people will have firm plans regarding their next steps. Some of these plans however will have to be changed as the results roll in. Others however won’t have firm plans and will be looking for inspiration.

Today more than ever, young people have a choice about their next steps. Many schools still seem to push the university route as the best option for the majority. However university certainly isn’t for everyone.

Hopefully, if university is what your young person wants to do next then they will achieve the grades they need. Happy days! However, life often doesn’t work out quite as smoothly as that. All is not lost of course. Your young person will have heard of UCAS’s clearing system.

Going through Clearing

UCAS is the system through which your young person will have applied to university and received offers of places. By A-Levels results day your young person will know how to use this system pretty well.


Clearing is basically the system which allows students to apply for other courses that they had not initially considered and for which they now have suitable grades in their A-Levels. Many young people will go to university through this method. It’s not the most ideal way of getting there because it can be quite a stressful process to go through. This is especially true after just having the disappointment of not achieving the grades needed for your first choice. However it gives people a second chance. Check out UCAS’s website for more info on Clearing. Also worth a look is TheSprout.co.uk’s guide to university, including info on applying, Clearing, and Adjustment.


Perhaps though your young person hasn’t had any interest in moving into higher education. That’s okay too. They may have applied for a higher or degree apprenticeship. These are at a level equivalent to higher education and could lead to your young person achieving a recognised professional qualification. In order to be accepted onto the apprenticeship your young person will also have had to achieve a certain level of education. This is usually a minimum of 2 A-Levels.

Degree Apprenticeships are a new partnership between employers and universities. As your young person will know, they are intended to give young people the chance to gain a degree alongside real life work experience. As a degree apprentices, your young person will split their time between university study and the workplace. They will be employed throughout, their tuition fees will be paid for them, and they will gain a degree or an HND/HNC from a university. All this while earning a wage and getting on-the-job experience. Degree Apprenticeships usually take between 4 and 6 years to complete.

If your young person has achieved the required grades then again happy days. However, if they haven’t got the required A-Levels, it would be advisable that they contact Careers Wales as soon as possible to see what their options are.

The world of work

Perhaps however your young person has no interest in continuing with their formal education and is keen to get into the world of work. There are of course many jobsites and recruitment agencies out there. The most important thing that they will to ensure before starting their job search is that they have an up-to-date CV. Many job sites will encourage your young person to create a CV on their site, which they can then upload for prospective employers to view or attach when applying for vacancies. Indeed jobsite is an example of this.

The likelihood is though that your young person may have already written a CV during their time in year 12 or 13. Quite often this takes place in their Welsh Baccalaureate lessons and frequently it is done using the Careers Wales CV builder, which is on their website. It is very user friendly.


Perhaps however your young person is not sure what they want to do and you are in a financial position to be able to support them at this time. This could be an excellent opportunity for them to gain some new experience, skills and knowledge through volunteering. There are many varied volunteering opportunities throughout the whole of Wales. These range from being a volunteer playworker with Groundwork Wales to being a music volunteer with RecRock… the options really are endless!

Perhaps your young person could take a look at Volunteering Wales, which brings together all the volunteering opportunities in Wales. It also has a handy search engine to find opportunities in your area.


Another option which some young people choose to take at this time is their life is to travel. This again, can be an excellent chance to gain new skills, knowledge and experience in particular if they combine it with working.

The organisation Anywork Anywhere could be an excellent starting point from which your young person could find inspiration. It lists both paid and volunteer opportunities all over the world. It also gives all the important information your young person would need regarding visas, insurance, immunisations required etc.

There are of course other similar organisations. It would be worth your young person doing their research before making such a big decision, just as they would if they were choosing which university to commit to for three or more years.

Your young person has choices

So to re-iterate… your young person does have choices. Whatever the outcome, all is not lost. Whilst not ideal, having to change their initial plans is a test of their resilience as young adults and a learning curve that they will, in the long run benefit from.

If your young person would like to talk to someone then Meic is the national advocacy, information, and advice helpline for young people in Wales.

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FamilyPoint Helpline

If there are any other problems your family is having, then call our advisors on the FamilyPoint Cymru helpline. The helpline is open 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday. They can help you to find organisations that can help.

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Cover Photo Credit: The Kingsway School Flickr via Compfight cc

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