Universities seek clarity over admissions after A-level u-turn

By Jordan Ifield
August 14 2020, 19.00

A group of universities are seeking clarity from the Department of Education over appeals after the confusion of yesterday’s A-level results.

A-level results this year saw over 35% of grades downgraded by at least a grade by teacher predictions, with 58.7% seeing no change.

The representative organisation for universities, Universities UK are aiming to clarify with the Department of Education over how likely the system will work in such short notice.

In a statement Universities UK said: “As autonomous institutions, ultimately the decisions about how flexible an institution or particular course can be will be made by the university involved.

“The extension of the UCAS deadline to 7 September allows for greater flexibility, but it is essential that the appeals process and decisions are clarified as soon as possible.

“With little notice, university admissions teams need to understand the process and timings of appeals, and the likely scale of this.

“In making admissions decisions, universities will be aware that mock exams (how they are run, importance placed on them) is not the same across all schools, and need clarity on what constitutes a valid mock exam result that is of equal status to calculated grades.”

English A-level results were ‘triple-locked’ by the government only a day before results were announced and meant that students could either: accept the results on the day, pay for a back-up exam in autumn or appeal based on mock exams.

In London results were the second highest in the country with 29.8% of results at A* or A, only bested by the South West at 30.7%, sparking claims of an economic disparity with the rest of the country.

A spokesperson for Goldsmiths University said: “We understand that this has been a particularly challenging and stressful time for students applying to university.

“Goldsmiths will continue to do everything it can to ensure students who would benefit from its unique creative and critical education will get the chance to study here.

“This is an unprecedented situation and we will continue to seek clarity on what recent policy changes mean for applicants, how we can support and advise them and ensure that our admissions approach is clear, efficient, and fair.”

A spokesperson at St George’s University said they were taking a digital approach to Clearing: “We know how stressful Clearing can be for students and this year in particular presents even more challenges.

“We are one of a few universities in the country offering a ‘digital first’ approach to allow applicants to apply to us online at anytime that suits them.”

Related Articles