UK

Universities urged to hold places for students appealing A-level grades

Universities have been urged by the UK Government to be flexible in their admissions ahead of A-level results day this week.

The eleventh hour move is in response to claims that the university places of thousands of pupils in England are in peril amid exam chaos.

Experts have warned that pupils whose marks are downgraded by computer face missing out on university places while exam boards sift through a flood of appeals.

Universities minister Michelle Donelan has written to vice-chancellors asking them, where possible, to hold places for students who appeal until they receive the outcome.

"Nobody should have to put their future on hold because of this virus," she said.

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"That is why I am urging universities to be as flexible as possible in their admissions and to hold places for those whose grades are being appealed.

"Our ambition for students this year is no different to any other year and it is in everybody's interest to see them progress."

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Sturgeon: 'We got it wrong over grades'

The plea to universities follows an apology by Nicola Sturgeon to pupils in Scotland affected by the downgrading of exam results north of the border.

In a political embarrassment for the First Minister, pupils in the most deprived areas of Scotland had their exam pass rate downgraded by more than twice that of students from the wealthiest parts of the country.

And signalling an imminent U-turn, Ms Sturgeon said: "We will be taking steps to ensure that every young person gets a grade that recognises the work they have done."

This year's A-levels in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and Highers in Scotland were cancelled because of coronavirus, so marks have been based on teachers' estimates of what pupils would have achieved.

In England, exam boards are expected to lower nearly 40% of grades using a computerised marking scheme to ensure results are not sigRead More – Source