While students across the country are nervously waiting their A Level results this Thursday (Aug 15) or GCSEs (Aug 22), a thought should be spared also for their equally anxious parents.
To help everyone going through the stresses and strains that inevitably come with this time of year, the Department for Education’s Exam Results Helpline opens at 07:30 on A Levels Day and will continue to be a lifeline of support and guidance until the end of the month.
Although students make the bulk of the calls, a quarter are from parents phoning to find out how best to help their youngsters take the next steps.
Here, Exam Results Helpline careers advisor Iwan Williams has outlined the ‘Ultimate Checklist’ for parents to ensure they can help their teenagers make the right decisions when the time comes.
So, what do parents really need to know?
1) The options: Having a solid understanding of the options can help calm the initial shock if results are unexpected. Clearing may be an option if firm and insurance offers are not secured and knowing how to access the lists can provide reassurance. Adjustment is something to consider if results are better than expected. Gap years, deferred entry and alternatives to university, like apprenticeships, can all be considered in the right circumstances too.
2) Free up some time: Universities are notoriously busy fielding phone calls and it can be frustrating waiting to speak to the right person. If a new university is being considered, it can be useful have a look in person and make a flying visit (geographically dependent obviously). Having a parent available to help them go through this process is invaluable.
4) Be the voice of calm: Try to be calm, reassuring and positive regardless of whatever the day has in store. Be ready to celebrate their success and enjoy their upcoming transition to a new chapter. But, just in case, be ready to comfort them if things don’t go as planned.
5) Call the Exam Results Helpline: In the event of any part of results day causes confusion or doubt, encourage your child to call us. Or call us yourself - we speak to hundreds of parents each year too. As trained careers advisers, we can help assess the options, evaluate the pros and cons and support your child to making the best decision for them. We are an impartial and knowledgeable voice in what can be a complicated but exciting time and we love helping every caller. We open at 8am on the morning of the results and we are available on 0808 100 1000. Good luck!
The Exam Results Helpline is 0808 100 8000 and opening times can be found here.