Thousands of students across the country today found out their A-level results, as top grades have fallen for the first time in 20 years.

The number of people achieving A and A* grades was 26.6 per cent, down from 27 per cent last year. The overall pass rate has continued to climb, with students achieving a minimum E grade in all subjects at 98 per cent.

The results also revealed a continuing fall in the numbers of pupils taking modern languages, with French, Spanish and German all in decline.

As well as those delighted with their results, there are many who failed to achieve the required grades to go to the university of their Choice. According to Ucas nearly 80,000 students are awaiting decisions on their future and more than 10,000 students have applied for clearing places.

The decline in top grades comes after exam watchdog ofqual told exam boards to stop so called 'grade inflation'. The A* grade was introduced in 2010 so that leading universities could mark out the brightest students.

Overall there has been a small dip in applications to university this year, following the tuition fee increase for students in England that saw fees shoot up to £9,000 a year.