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Thousands set to collect their A-level exam results in Wales

Students across Wales will be opening their results today. Credit: PA

Thousands of students across Wales are awaiting their A-level results this morning.

Many will be going onto university or further education but the number of young people taking A-levels is falling and increasingly they are choosing a different route.

The overall A-level entry in Wales has fallen by 5.3 per cent to 33,640 compared with 35,525 in 2017.

Qualification Wales believe this is due to three factors: smaller population size in age group, students taking fewer subjects and increase in those taking vocational qualifications.

It's no surprise that there has been a fall in the proportion of young people who think it's important to go into higher education.

Young people face a dilemma. If they go on to university they incur debts of over £50,000 and will be paying back their loans well into middle age. And in a number of cases they end up with degrees that don't get them into graduate jobs.

On the other hand, degree-level apprenticeships are almost non-existent with less than 10,000 available each year compared with over 300,000 university places. There is effectively no viable alternative to university.

– Sir Peter Lampl, founder of the Sutton Trust and chairman of the Education Endowment Foundation

This year, the number of students taking modern foreign languages has also dropped since last year. The percentage fall can be seen next to the summer 2017 figures in brackets below.

  • French 340 (360) -6%
  • German 70 (105) -34%
  • Spanish 160 (180) -12%

Over the past five years, there has been an increase in unconditional offers for university places across the UK - from 2,985 in 2013, to 67,915 in 2018.

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The Education Secretary, Kirsty Williams, will be visiting Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Glantaf this morning where students will go to pick up their results.

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