AFTER many years of hard work Oxfordshire pupils will receive their A-Level results tomorrow and many will begin their journey to university, training or employment.

But not everyone will get the results they expected or were hoping for.

A disappointing set of grades can be upsetting and stressful for pupils and their families but Oxfordshire County Council cabinet member for education Melinda Tilley has said poor grades should not be the end of the road for pupils.

The county council and the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) have advised those receiving their results that there are many options available if they have an unpleasant surprise when they open their envelopes.

Mrs Tilley said: “I feel very strongly that if you do not get the grades you want there are other chances – it is not the end of the world.

“You can go through clearing, you can retake the exams, you can defer your entry to university.

“It also can make you stop and think about what you are doing and you may decide on a career which does not involve university.

“The county council is there to point people in all these different directions and we can give advice and cheer people up.

“One set of exams is not your life.

“I want to send a good luck message to all of Oxfordshire’s pupils and also pay thanks to the teachers.

“They sometimes seem to get forgotten in all of it and they play such a big role.”

Students will start to have some idea of their results from 8am tomorrow when the university offers section of the UCAS website goes live.

This will tell them whether or not they have got into the university they applied to, although they will not know their actual grades.

Most schools will open at some point from 8am onwards to allow students to pick up their results.

At this point some people will discover they have not got into the university they wanted and will then need to look at other options.

Most pupils will have also kept an “insurance” option – a university which accepts lower grades than they hoped to get.

If they miss their expected grades but still meet their insurance offer they will be accepted on to that course instead.

But if they do not meet their insurance offer, or do not have one, they still have other options, such as clearing.

The clearing process lets pupils know which universities still have spaces and what the entry requirements are.

Courses with vacancies will be listed on the UCAS site from 6pm tonight so pupils can take an advance look if they are concerned.

Students can go straight into clearing after they have received their results and can confirm an offer received this way by 5pm tomorrow.

Most courses in clearing will be filled by Monday but there will be some spaces available for longer.

About one in 10 people who started university last year went through clearing.

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Some people may decide they do not want to go through clearing as the courses or universities on offer are not for them.

In this case they can resit their exams and apply again or simply apply again with the grades they have received.

According to UCAS, about half of 18-year-olds who do not get into university apply again the next year and about 90 per cent are successful.

UCAS chief executive Mary Curnock said: “If you think you’ll be using the clearing route to get there, don’t worry. Record numbers of students were placed that way last year. “Universities and colleges will want to talk you, but remember to prepare and do your research before discussing your options with them. You will find all the information you need on our website.”

Oxfordshire County Council will be offering drop-in sessions for 16- to 19-year-olds to help them find out more about staying in learning, finding a job or starting an apprenticeship.

There will be sessions at Blackbird Ley’s Young People’s Centre, Banbury New Futures Centre and The Forum in Kidlington, as well as at other locations.

People can also get advice by calling 01865 328460 or by visiting, where full details of the drop-in sessions are available.