‘Unis will be more flexible than ever before’ with students who miss offer grades

The head of UCAS says ‘don’t be discouraged if you slightly miss your grades’

Unis will be more flexible than ever before with students who miss their offer, the head of UCAS has said, telling students not to worry if they slightly miss their grades.

Speaking ahead of A-level results day on Thursday, Clare Marchant said she expected unis to be more lenient with students who miss offers by a grade or two, taking personal statements and other contextual data into account to a greater extent.

Unlucky students could find the grades that secured them uni places downgraded on results day, with the possibility that they miss out on the place altogether.

However, in Scotland, where that exact problem played out earlier this week, the government today announced that all 75,000 students with downgraded results could keep their original, higher teacher-estimated grades. The NUS is now calling on the English government to follow suit, with president Larissa Kennedy saying: “The Scottish government have taken decisive action to respond to this situation, which must now be reflected across the UK”.

Michelle Donelan, the universities minister, has told unis to keep places open until September to allow students to appeal unfair grades. She acknowledged bright students from low-performing schools are likely to be the worst-hit by marks being adjusted down

Speaking at a Higher Education Policy Institute event, Marchant said: “Speaking to admissions professionals from around the countries, not just England, they are preparing themselves to be super flexible.”

UCAS expect a record 80,000 students to go through clearing this year.

“If you’ve got a result and you can move on, move on,” Marchant added, saying students shouldn’t look to take the option of autumn retakes if they can get to uni anyway.

And as she explained how unis will look further beyond grades than they have in the past, Marchant suggested that should continue: “The reform of personal statements is well due – rather than a blanket 47 lines, understanding what we actually want to ask with that statement.

“I think there’s definitely more we can do to help with that contextualised admissions process as we go through the coming years.”

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