Newcastle College is offering support and guidance to students receiving their GCSE results this week with a dedicated telephone advice line.
The GCSE advice line will operate between 9am and 4pm on Thursday 25 and Friday 26 August and is provided in addition to the face to face advice offered at Rye Hill Campus between 10am and 7pm.
The advice line is available to students, parents and guardians and has been extremely well received since its launch eight years ago.
Sharon Walker, Schools Liaison Co-ordinator at Newcastle College, manages the GCSE advice line and has given support and guidance to thousands of people over the past years.
She said: “The GCSE advice line was developed to give those who are unsure about the options available to them once they have received their results. Every year we get calls from parents, guardians and young people who are worried that they did not get their predicted grades or are just unsure about what they now want to do. It may be that they have achieved better results than they expected and are looking for something a bit more challenging.
“The key thing I say to everyone is not to panic. There are many options available, some of which you may not have considered yet. The important thing is to find out what the individual wants to achieve, their interests and aspirations and then identify the realistic options available to help them reach their goal.”
Sharon added: “We get lots of calls from students who are unsure if they want to go down the traditional academic route. This is such an important time in a young person’s life and it is vital that they choose the path that is right for them. Newcastle College offers a full range of vocational qualifications, including National Diplomas as well as a number of apprenticeships, which allow you to combine employment and training in a range of vocational areas. Apprenticeship frameworks are developed in partnership with employers and provide the skills that businesses really need. A Higher Apprenticeship is the equivalent to an HE qualification and great for those who are looking to develop or progress in their career.
“Through Newcastle Sixth Form College we also offer traditional A and AS level subjects and alternatives such as the International Baccalaureate, which combine A Level subjects with enrichment activities, such as voluntary work.”
It is expected that more students will seek advice this year on the back of recent changes to the education system, including the abolition of the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) and increase in HE tuition fees.
Sharon added: “Recent education reform has lead to many students feeling under extra pressure to do well first time. As well as the introduction of HE fees, the Government decided to abolish EMA, which provided much needed financial support for thousands of students every year. It is important to know that support is still available with colleges and schools developing their own schemes. For example, Newcastle College has launched a replacement scheme called NCMA which can provide eligible 16 -18 year olds with £1200 over two years to help towards the cost of books and travel.
“The college has also recently announced its intention to set its HE fees at £5,800, way below the £9,000 which many universities will charge. This is good news for students who wish to progress into higher education.
“Results day can be very stressful and it is important to have the opportunity to speak to someone who understands the concerns and issues that you may have. Not getting the grades that you expected may feel like the end of the world, but there are many options. We see many people every year in the same situation who still go on to achieve their ambitions. My advice would be that if you have any worries or concerns give us a ring. We are here to listen and to work through the options available, be that continuing your education, moving into employment or combining the two.”
The Newcastle College GCSE advice line is available on 0191 200 4516.