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Help! My child didn't get their A-level grades - what can they do?

By Megan Rose

While exam results day can be a cause for celebration for many, sometimes it doesn't pan out the way you or your child anticipated. But there are still options open to them...

Reassure them 

Although your child will be disappointed, advise them that this is a bump in the road not the end of their dreams. They can still reach their goal, but they will just need to review their options for getting there. Then offer them practical help to look for alternatives.


If your child didn’t get the grades they expected, they can look for another course right for them through clearing. Have a browse together, and see whether there are any that look appealing or similar to what they had originally intended to study. Click here to search for courses - but be warned, the site will be VERY busy on results day, so be prepared to be patient.

Take a gap year

If the stress of clearing doesn't appeal, discuss taking a gap year. This could give them time to re-take their exams, earn while they learn, or complete some work experience. There’s no hurry to go to university straight away, and taking the time to build up experiences to add to their future applications could prove more successful.

Should they have their exams re-marked?

If they've just missed out on their grades, you can consider having your child’s exam paper remarked. This has to be arranged through their school and there is a price for doing it (around £50 per exam in most cases), which state schools will often pay (parents generally have to meet the cost themselves at independent schools.)

This is usually refunded if the appeal is successful but not if the appeal fails, so some schools may be reluctant to offer this if they don't think there is a good chance the appeal will succeed and they will lose money. Ring up your child’s school or teacher for further information.

Apply for an apprenticeship

University isn’t the only option available to students after their A-Levels. There are a variety of schemes for young people across the UK which could lead to well paid, rewarding careers. Have a browse together and note down schemes that your child is interested in and could apply to. To find out more, click here.

Click these links below for further advice:

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