Students to receive GCSE results today

Thousands of teenagers in the Midlands pick up their GCSE results later Photo: PA

It's a nervous morning for thousands of teenagers in the Midlands as they pick up their GCSE results.

Today will represent a crossroads in their lives as they decide whether to go on to study A-levels, pursue a vocational qualification, look for work or start an apprenticeship.

The careers advice service, Futures Nottingham and Nottinghamshire, is advising students not to panic if they don't get the grades they were hoping for.

Operations Manager Michelle Wright told ITV Central that teenagers should get advice and think about their options and choose whatever feels right for them.

She said students are considering their future carefully in the light of higher university tuition fees and high levels of youth unemployment.

While today's sixteen year olds face an uncertain future, so do GCSEs themselves. The Government is looking closely at the exams, while the Institute of Fiscal Studies has questioned their purpose.

It says England is "unusual" in having a school leaving exam at 16.

Most countries focus on exams when most young people in fact leave school at 17 or 18.

The system in England looks rather like a left-over from a time when the majority of young people did expect to leave school at 16.

– Institute of Fiscal Studies