National charity Family Lives offers advice and guidance for families and young people awaiting GCSE results

On Thursday, 23rd August 2012, pupils throughout the UK will receive their GCSE results.  For many young people their GCSE results may decide whether they go onto some form of further education or training. Nearly 80% of young people stay in learning after Year 11 and this is likely to rise because young people are worried about the recession.

Praise the effort

Jeremy Todd, Family Lives Chief Executive encourages parents not to appear too disappointed if their children don’t achieve the desired results. He says:

"Don't have a row or tell them they should have done more work. Don't panic.  Exams can always be re-sat, whatever the result, it's not the end of the world.  Reassure your children that they are not a failure and that they've failed an exam, not life itself or you the parent. Don't necessarily celebrate a result, but the effort.  Even when the results are good, celebrate the effort.  Love the child for themselves and celebrate the work they've put in, Otherwise you can sow the seeds of 'We only love you if you succeed.”

Parents should remember that results day is also a transition period for youngsters.  Jeremy Todd continues:

"Children may be anxious about the next step, about returning to school, and this comes into focus when exams are all over.  Also, when exams are over, families can find other problems which have been temporarily swept under the carpet come to the surface again.  Encourage a family day out or a special family meal purely to celebrate that the fact that the long wait is over.   Recognise everyone in the family will be affected by this, everyone is under stress - older ones, younger ones, so make allowances for that."

In these uncertain times, it is more important than ever that your child knows what options are available to them so they can make the right choices. There are a broad range of exciting qualifications and learning routes available for young people to choose from, and some of these are new. Below is a list of Family Lives’ ‘Top Tips’ to help point your child in the right direction:

Advice for 15-16-year-olds

  • Take time to talk through all the options with your child, making sure you listen to what they are interested in doing - never try and force them down a route they’re not happy with
  • Ensure you understand different forms of higher and further education- things are likely to have changed a lot since you were that age and you need to be well informed to offer your child guidance
  • If your child doesn’t want to continue in academic study then encourage them to look at other options. Make sure they understand that further education doesn’t have to mean a classroom. Your local college should offer a range of vocational alternatives from hair and beauty to bricklaying and may even offer apprenticeships so they can earn while they learn
  • Some university courses, especially sciences, require certain subjects at A-level. If your child is planning to go to university and already has a specific course/ career in mind then you can help them to research this on university websites to ensure they make the right choices
  • If they are disappointed with their GCSE results then don’t panic- many sixth forms will still admit students with lower grades and allow them to retake core subjects such as Maths and English. Or they could explore vocational routes which often have lower entrance requirements
  • Look at the online 14 to 19 Area Prospectus and school, college and other brochures and prospectuses or look at their websites to find out what courses and qualifications are available locally. Your child should pay special attention to teaching and learning styles, assessment methods and course length
  • The Diploma, a new qualification which offers the best of both worlds - a combination of classroom learning and practical hands-on experience, and the opportunity to develop functional skills in English, Maths and ICT. From September ten subjects will be available, including Environmental and Land-based Studies, Creative and Media; and Business, Administration and Finance. Not all these subjects are available in every area. The Advanced Diploma is worth three and a half A levels
  • Your child should speak to their tutors/teachers/admission tutors about their options, which may include combining different qualifications and subjects. For example, if they choose to take the Advanced Diploma, they may be able to take an A level as part of their Diploma because Diplomas combine a number of qualifications
  • For advice on looking for jobs, including CV and interview preparation, and information about work experience and internships, higher and further education options, vocational training, and financial support available, visitwww.direct.gov.uk/whatsnext