Top students shunned by universities in fallout of A-grade fiasco | A level
With predicted A-level scores of A *, A *, A and national swimming awards, Eve Leleux, a 17-year-old public school student, might have expected a series of college offers from first order in an ordinary year. Instead, as elite universities panicked about being overloaded with top students this summer, she received no offers to study the dentistry course she had chosen.
She is not alone. Teachers and parents across the country are reporting stories of distraught high-flying students who waited months longer than usual to hear from top universities, before being rejected by everyone or by the community. Most of them.
Teacher-assessed A levels are generally expected to result in many more students achieving top marks in August. During last year’s A-level fiasco, some prestigious universities ended up accommodating up to a third more students than in 2019, despite being already full, after thousands of students have had their level A marked. Many students have chosen to postpone until this year, putting even more pressure on places for 2021.
Universities must accept anyone who satisfies their supply, so with housing and facilities already stretched and social distancing restrictions likely, many elite institutions have made fewer offers than usual to protect themselves.
“My daughter is upset and angry,” said Eve’s mother Rachel Jenner-Leleux. “She had her first experience working with a dentist at the age of 14. She wanted it for so long. ”
Jenner-Leleux, who lives in Telford, obtained data on dental admissions from the University of Liverpool via an Freedom of Information request after refusing her daughter. Last year the course made 142 offers for 2020 and carried over 152 more for 2021. This year it only made 43 offers and carried over 30. Dentistry figures are capped by the English government, although last summer they had to remove the cap because so many more students were meeting the highest quality requirements.
“As soon as they canceled the exams last year, the writing was on the wall,” she said. “The government had to know this would happen. Gavin Williamson did absolutely nothing to help these children who worked so hard.
Mike Nicholson, director of undergraduate admissions at the University of Bath, said that with competitive institutions like his under “significant pressure” these are not isolated stories. “I know from my conversations with schools that there are students with very good expected grades who had not received any offers, while students predicted that three B-levels received a lot of offers very quickly. Many frequent travelers may end up with just one offer. “
Fintan Hogan, a student at King Edward VI Camp Hill, a public boys’ high school in Birmingham, predicted four A * but was turned down by his top two picks, the University of Cambridge and the London School of Economics. He was ready for some stiff competition at Cambridge, but thought LSE was a “safe” second choice as his politics course only required three A’s. “I’m really disappointed,” he says.
Hogan has since accepted an offer from King’s College London, but worries he may have missed some venues as he had to wait until this month to hear from LSE.
“People describe us as the year of luck,” he said. “How can anyone suggest that we are having it easy when we have had to learn independently for so long knowing that in the end there would be fewer university places offered because of all the postponements of Last year?”
Corinna Gregory, whose son Oliver is a school captain at King Edward VI Five Ways, another Birmingham high school, says he “decided” to study medicine at Newcastle University. Oliver, who is predicted A *, A *, A, had an interview with Zoom Before Christmas and was ultimately dismissed in April.
“It was so long to wait and it was very difficult,” said Gregory. “What I find difficult is that he really put the passion into play. He’s so driven and wants to be a doctor to make a difference for people.
Oliver has received an offer and plans to study medicine at the University of Southampton next year, after working in a refugee camp in Botswana.
Dr Philip Purvis, Deputy Head of Independent Croydon High School, said: “Faced with space constraints – at a time when space matters – and almost certain grade inflation, some of the Kingdom’s most respected universities -Uni have chosen to pull the communication shutters down and make their offers very late in the admissions process. “
He said the odds were the hardest in medicine. “We see talented and dedicated students missing out on valued medical education when another year their place would be sure to be.”
Professor Ian Fussell, associate dean of education at the University of Exeter’s medical school, said they had welcomed 40 additional students last year and “had the capacity to receive additional students this year. », But only if there is new funding to support clinical placements.
Yet Sir Peter Lampl, founder of the Sutton Trust, warned that it was “more important than ever” for universities to take into account the plight of students. “The educational impacts of the pandemic have not been felt in the same way, with students in the poorest households being the most likely to struggle, so they need to have a break.”
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Education said it recognizes the challenges facing students and universities, adding: “
Those who did not secure their HE place can choose to enter the Ucas compensation service, as applicants have done in previous years. This will help students to take courses according to their interest and availability if they are not placed or wish to change their firm choice. “