Education & Family

Teenagers told to keep parents at bay on results day

mother and daughter
Image caption The Girls' Schools Association is urging teenagers to take responsibility for calls to universities

Teenagers are being warned to keep "pushy parents" away from the telephone as they try to secure university places after getting their results next week.

The Girls' Schools Association, which represents around 180 private schools, said parents increasingly saw it as their duty to take over on results day.

But the GSA said this risked sending out the wrong message to universities.

Next week, thousands of students in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will receive their A-level results.

Results day is followed by the clearing process which sees would-be undergraduates matched to spare places on degree courses.

This year it is expected that more universities will use the clearing system, as government changes to admissions rules mean institutions will be able to recruit additional students with top grades - ABB or better.

'You're on your own'

The GSA's advice urges teenagers to take the lead themselves rather than letting their parents take over.

Hilary French, president of the GSA said: "Now is not the time to be nervous on the telephone and it's certainly not the day for letting your parents fight your battles for you.

"By all means discuss your options with them, but if you have to talk to universities, you're on your own."

Clare Reseigh, head of sixth form at St Gabriel's School near Newbury, said: "If you have to ring universities to confirm or renegotiate your place, it goes without saying that it must be you who calls.

"Under no circumstances allow your parents to call on your behalf because that will send entirely the wrong message about your maturity and commitment."

But education author and parent Sarah Ebner said parents still needed to be involved in the clearing process.

"Supportive parents can only be of help to their children, but it's true that sometimes they need to step back," she said.

"If a mother or father makes the phone call to a university, then it does suggest that they have a child who may need spoon-feeding, but that doesn't mean parents should just step back and leave their children to get on with it.

"If their child has just missed a university place, they will be upset and need guidance. If you just walk away, I don't think you're being supportive at a time when you're needed.

"Instead, talk through what they might want to say and try to boost their confidence. Then give them the phone and leave them to make the call themselves."

Siobhan Freegard, co-founder of the parenting website Netmums said: "Parents need to let go at some point and teens need to learn to be independent - and letting 18 year olds deal with their own university clearing is a great place to start.

"Of course, parents must be on hand to give advice, support or just be a sounding board, but remember it is your child's life, not yours, so let them live it. Even if you don't agree with their choices, the mistakes are theirs to make, live and learn from."

Most A-level candidates will receive their results next Thursday, while GCSE results are due out on Thursday 22 August.

Students in Scotland got the results of their Standard Grades and Highers on Tuesday.

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