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A Levels: Education Correspondent's blog

Thousands of young people are receiving their A Level results. Credit: ITV News Central

So the big day's arrived, and the future of thousands of young people in the East and West Midlands has hinged on the contents of a small, white envelope.

I remember A-level results day well - the nervous journey to school, finding out my grades and the huge relief at knowing I'd done well and got a place at Sheffield University.

That's going back more years than I care to mention, but in some ways, the A-level exams I took then are not dissimilar to the ones taken by the Class of 2017.

A Level students have have had to take new Credit: ITV News Central

This year for the first time, students have had to take new "linear" exams in which neither their AS results nor their coursework have contributed to their final mark.

Instead, everything boiled down to how they fared in the examination hall this summer.It's been tough - in many ways, this year's crop of A-level students have been guinea pigs.

The syllabus has been toughened up and there were no past papers to practise on, as many picking up their results have been telling me this morning.

There are more university course places available this year. Credit: ITV News Central

On the plus side, for those looking to go on to university, it seems to be a buyer's market.

A perfect storm of a population dip in the number of eighteen year olds, more students opting for apprenticeships and fewer students applying from the EU after Brexit means there are more course places available this year.

That bodes well for clearing, the process in which students who've missed the grades they wanted scramble for the remaining university places.

22.9% of exam papers received the top A-A* marks in the West Midlands. Credit: ITV News Central

Already clearing hotlines at campuses across the Midlands are red-hot. So how did our region do overall?

In the West Midlands, 22.9% of exam papers received the top A-A* marks, down 0.3%.

But in the East Midlands, the figure was up 0.3% to 23.3%, reversing the downward trend of the last six years.

Well done to everyone who's picked up their results today. For many, it'll be a passport to a new exciting chapter in their lives.

In the East Midlands, 23.3% exam papers received the top A-A* marks. Credit: ITV News Central

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