‘A’ Level pass rate hits 96.6 per cent

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For the 20th year in a row, the ‘A’ Level pass rate has risen – it now stands at 96.6 per cent. And A grades account for 24.1 per cent of the results – up from 22.8 per cent.

School standards minister Jim Knight described the results as “a time for celebration”, adding: “We no longer have the quota system of 20 years ago which imposed a false cap on attainment and condemned 30 per cent of pupils to failure each year no matter what their achievements.

“Today, hard work merits success and high quality teaching is enabling every young person to grasp the opportunities available to them.”

But according to the Learning and Skills Council 80 per cent of parents think it will be harder for their children to find gainful employment than it was for them.

In contrast, 68 per cent of young people are optimistic about their career prospects and 43 per cent think it will be easier for them to find a job than it was for their parents.

The research by the LSC revealed that youngsters are far more clued-up than their parents about the range of options open to them.

Stephen Gardner, the LSC’s director of apprenticeships, explained: “This research gives us a unique insight into the views of school leavers and their parents and highlights that much parental stress is borne out of lack of knowledge about the range of options open to their children after their exams.

“The good news is that the majority of young people are positive about the future and well-informed about the vocational education options, such as apprenticeships, that can lead them to a very successful and satisfying career.

“We hope that parents will take a leaf out of their children’s book and be more optimistic, especially given the opportunities for young people these days.”

And with the increases in university tuition fees worrying many potential students, you don’t have to be an accountant to work out that other entry routes into careers can be beneficial.

In fact, the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) has calculated that vocationally-trained AAT students, who begin their training when they leave school at 18, will be £55,000 ahead of their graduate counterparts at the age of 21.

The figures are based on analysis of the Hays Salary Survey, DfES reports and AAT data and show the advantage for vocational training is lower tuition fees and the ability to work while studying.

Jane Scott Paul, chief executive of the AAT said: “What a student earns is largely down to the individual, and rising stars will be rising stars, whether they go to college or university.

“What we hope to show through this research is the benefits of a college education that are sometimes overlooked. £55,000 is a significant sum, and with the vast majority of our students progressing on to become Chartered at the same pace or even quicker than graduates; this money could be seen for some, as simply an extra.”

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