ALMOST 2,000 students in Swindon were celebrating or commiserating after collecting their A-level results yesterday.

A total of 1,954 students took A-levels in the town, and 97 per cent of those were awarded a pass at grades A*-E, compared to 98 per cent the previous year.

Swindon’s results were slightly down on the national average, which stood at 98 per cent.

The number of A-level entries resulting in a top mark of A*-A fell two per centage points from 18 per cent in 2013 to 16 per cent in 2014. The national average is 26 per cent.

It was one of the most anxiety-ridden days for teens around the town as they found out whether they had made the grade to take the next step in their careers.

Many students will now be looking forward to starting their courses at universities, with some beginning preparations for the new term at some of the highly respected top-ten universities including Oxford and Cambridge.

Anne Snelgrove, Labour’s Parliamentary candidate for South Swindon and a former A-level teacher, was one of those on hand congratulating students on their achievements at New College yesterday.

She said: “I know from my own experience as a teacher how nerve-wracking results day is for students, parents and teachers.

"Young people work harder than ever for their A-level results as there’s so much competition for jobs and university places, so I'd like to congratulate all those who have achieved the grades they need.

“For those who haven't done so well, my message is it’s not the end of the world.

“There are lots of options open but get advice as soon as possible from your teachers.

“Teachers have experienced a lot of changes in A-levels under this Government, many of which have not been in the best interests of students.”

While many students were celebrating their achievements, there was also disappointment as students in some cases had to reconsider life-long dreams.

Justin Tomlinson, the MP for North Swindon, said: “Yesterday was an incredibly nerve-wracking time for many students.

“Congratulations to all those who have secured what they needed for the next phase in their careers.

“For those who haven’t quite done it, if they focus on working on a good work ethic then there is every chance you will still be successful in whatever you choose to do.”

While many students flocked into school from as early as 8.30am to pick up their precious envelopes, others were logging on to the UCAS website from 8am to see if their place had been confirmed.

For those who have not quite made the grades they need, their first port of call should be the university or college they have applied to, which might still accept them.

Otherwise they can log on to UCAS and find out if they are eligible to use Clearing – the system which matches applicants who don’t have a place with suitable vacancies.

Fact file

August 31: Adjustment deadline closes for students who have better results than those offered for their  firm choice and want to look elsewhere 
September 20: The last day UCAS will accept applications for courses starting in 2014
September 30: Clearing vacancy search closes. Universities can still be contacted directly.
October 22: The last date a college or university can accept a student through Clearing.

UCAS: 03714 680468
National Careers Service: 0800 100 900
Exam Results Helpline: 0808 100 8000
New College: 01793 611470
Swindon College: 01793 491591
St Joseph’s Catholic College: 01793 714200
Ridgeway School: 01793 846100
Royal Wootton Bassett Academy: 01793 841900