Record numbers secure university places after A-level results revealed
Nearly 400,000 students have secured university places after A-level results were published by the exam board today.
As the nail-biting came to an end for thousands across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, the results showed the overall pass rate – the number of students attaining A*-E grades – dropped for the first time in 32 years.
Figures reveal pupils achieving A* and A grades have declined for the third successive year from 26.3% to 26%.
Despite the decline in grades the number of students entering universities coming September has increased with a far greater number of course places being offered through the clearing system than ever before.
With many universities taking part in the UCAS clearing scheme, which allows students who have missed the conditions of their offers to take up empty places on different courses, there are an extra 30,000 places available for students with low grades this autumn.
This year, more institutions – including the UK’s most elite Russell Group of universities – are making spaces available on what are typically the most competitive vocational qualifying courses.
Education secretary Nicky Morgan claims that the government is “lifting the cap on aspiration” after adjustments under the coalition allows universities to take on an unlimited number of students who have achieved grades of ABB or better.
If results continue to drop and graduate employability continues to waver the new accessibility of places could prove futile than pragmatic.
Michael Gove’s reform of the examination structure has led to a focus on “sudden death” exams at the end of the school year as opposed to modular, extended examination. Experts deem the decline in grades are to be blamed on the choice of subjects and with more students opting for “facilitating subjects” the results are most visible in maths and the sciences.
Lesley Davies, vice president of quality, standards and research at Pearson UK, believes that students are shifting their priorities towards these subjects as they are more focused on “their future careers” and want to “make sure they are competitive”.
Thomas Rhys Jones