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Students collect their A Level results in Cardiff

There have been celebrations and also commiserations at schools across Wales today with the publication of this summer's A-Level results

The gap between students here and in other parts of the UK has widened for the second year running. In Wales, the numbers getting grades between A star to E stayed at 97.6%. Across Wales, England and N.Ireland, that number rose to 98.1%

There was also a slight fall in the number of people getting the top A or A star grades. That was 22 point 9 percent -- down from 25 percent in 2009

So what do those figures mean for the thousands of students who've had their results today? Nicola Hendy reports from one Cardiff college.

A Levels: Advice on the clearing process

If you didn't get the grades you were hoping for, or applied late, you can still apply for university courses through a process called 'clearing'.

You can also use this process if you've had a change of heart about an offer you received from a university.

For advice on the clearing process you can go to the following places:

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Clearing advice: "The general message is not to panic"

Julie Cowley is the Head of Partnerships, Recruitment and Admissions at Glyndwr University. She says her team have had a busy morning offering clearing advice to students.

She said: "We still get some students that are coming on the phone panicking, but I think the general message is not to panic, as certainly we have places left across the board."

A Level results day in pictures

Megan Lloyd Griffith and Sophie Collins from YG Garth Olwg compare results Credit: Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council
A student at Barry Comprehensive School collects her results Credit: ITV News / Tom Sheldrick
Students await their results at St. David's Catholic College, Cardiff Credit: ITV News / Nicola Hendy
Gethin Lloyd and Lloyd Taylor are both going to Swansea University Credit: Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council

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Gap with England widens

The figures released by the WJEC and other exam boards show the overall A level pass rate has stabilised in Wales after a period of decline. It's the same picture for the top A* grade but the percentage of candidates getting A* or A has fallen again. Here's what's happened in Wales in 2012 and 2013:

  • A*-E: Last year 97.6% This year 97.6%
  • A*-A: Last year 23.6% This year 22.9%
  • A*: Last year 6.0% This year 6.0%

The gap continues to grow between Welsh A level candidates's performance and the overall results for the three UK countries that use the examination. (Scotland has its own exam system). That's true on almost every measure, including both the overall A-E pass rate and for candidates getting A* or A.

  • A*-E: Wales 97.6% (+0.0%) England, Wales & NI 98.1% (+0.1%)
  • A*: Wales 6.0% (+0.0%) England, Wales & NI 7.6% (-0.3%)
  • A*-A: Wales 22.9% (-0.7%) England, Wales & NI 26.3% (-0.3%)
  • A*-B: Wales 49.3% (-0.6%) England, Wales & NI 52.9% (+0.3%)
  • A*-C: Wales 75.2% (+0.2%) England, Wales & NI 77.2% (+0.6%)

There is no agreed explanation for why there's a growing gap between performance in Wales and in England (which accounts for the vast majority of the the figures for the three countries).

England has more privately educated pupils, which might partially explain the gap but not why it's growing.

Education minister congratulates students

Education Minister Huw Lewis AM was at St David's College in Cardiff this morning to congratulate pupils opening their results.

Learners here at St David's College, along with all others across Wales, deserve to celebrate their results today.

They have worked incredibly hard and deserve credit and praise for what they have achieved. Parents and teachers should also be recognised and applauded for the support they've offered learners along the way.

This is a good set of results. The A level pass rate in Wales remains high and we are seeing steady progress in a number of different subjects, with an increasing proportion of grades awarded at grades A* - C.

A Levels remain highly respected qualifications and it's clear, particularly in terms of the STEM subjects, that our students are now starting to think further down the line about the kind of skills and qualifications they'll need for entry into Higher Education or employment.

– Huw Lewis AM, Education Minister

A Level results 'stable' with 97.6% pass rate

Almost 36,000 students entered A Level examinations this year and 97.6 per cent achieved A* to E grades.

The Joint Council for Qualifications says the pass rate remained in line with that of 2012, with the percentage of candidates gaining A* grades also stable at six per cent.

The percentage getting A or A* is down for the fourth successive year at 22.9 per cent, compared with 23.6 per cent last year. It was 25 per cent back in 2009. Girls continue to outperform boys with 98.1 per cent of girls achieving A* to E grades, compared to 97 per cent of boys.

A total of 10,362 students completed the Welsh Baccalaureate, with 82.7 per cent of candidates awarded the Advanced Diploma, down slightly from 82.8 per cent last year. The number of students receiving the Advanced Core Certificate rose from 87.6 per cent last year to 88.4 per cent.

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