As teenagers across Tyne and Wear prepare to receive their A-Level results, school leaders said everything possible would be done to help find a university place for those who just miss their grades.
They said it would be a "tragedy" for bright teenagers to lose out on A-level results day.
General secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) Brian Lightman said disappointed students should not "give up" and to look at the many other options available.
Concerns have been raised that changes to university admissions will mean that able teenagers who are predicted to score two As and a B but just fall short will struggle to find a university place this year.If you can't see our #skytyneandwear results day live blog, click here
He called on the Government to extend the National Careers Service to school pupils, arguing it is of "vital importance."
Under a new admissions system, there is now no limit on the numbers of students with two As and a B at A-level that universities can recruit, allowing them potentially to offer last-minute places to youngsters who do better than expected and meet this threshold.
But it means universities are likely to have less flexibility to admit students who just miss this standard, as there is still a strict cap on those who score less than AAB.
Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT teaching union, said: "This year's results are being released against a backdrop of increasing attacks on our examinations system, with ministers and commentators seeking to whip up a false crisis about 'gold standard' qualifications, grade inflation and dumbing down."
Memory Skills and counting cards - record breaker gets his grades
His comments come as figures nationally reveal the number of A-level students awarded A grades or higher in England, Wales and Northern Ireland has fallen - but the overall pass rate has gone up.
And for the first time since the A* grade was introduced in 2010, boys outperformed girls in achieving the top grade, by 8% compared to 7.9%. The overall number of A* grades fell from 8.2 to 7.9%
Queen Alexandra Sixth Form in North Shields gained a 99.3% pass rate. Check out the image gallery above of some of their star pupils.
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