Thousands of teenagers from across the region will head to schools and colleges to find out their grades and learn if they have secured a university, apprenticeship or training scheme place.

Last year, the number of top A-level grades fell for a fourth year in a row.

Despite the decline, a record numbers of students were accepted on university courses.

This year, early indications suggest a slight increase in the number of A* and A grades being awarded - but also warn of potential for "greater volatility" in marks.

Meanwhile, some experts believe boys will continue to close the gap on their female counterparts across the top grades.

And the number of boys achieving the very top grade could pull further ahead of girls due to a rise in take-up of maths - typically a high-scoring subject - some experts predict.

Yet students are bracing themselves for greater volatility in this year'sresults because of changes to the curriculum, a teachers' union has said.

Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT union, said that teachers and students had struggled to get to grips with new syllabuses which were brought in this year and could impact results.

The Government introduced changes to the subject content of all AS and A-levels last year. Mid-course exams were also scrapped, meaning that all exams are now taken at the end of the year.

Students and teachers have had a very short timescale to get to grips with the new syllabuses, particularly at a time when they have been trying to prepare for the introduction of revised A-level courses from next month.

Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT union
Changes were introduced to AS-levels and A-levels last year. Credit: PA

Meanwhile, Anne Longfield, children's commissioner for England, praised students across the country on their achievements.

I'm delighted to congratulate the thousands of students across England who received their A-level results today and to wish them the very best for the future as they go on to further develop their skills and knowledge and follow their chosen paths. The results clearly demonstrate how much young people are capable of achieving.

Anne Longfield, children's commissioner for England

A Department for Education spokeswoman said: "A-level results day is theculmination of months of hard work for students and teachers and everyoneinvolved deserves credit."