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Update on replacement A-level grades

13 Aug 2020

Information on what this means for the confirmation and clearing process

A-level update

The past 48 hours have been a rollercoaster for the entire higher education sector following the Government announcing a raft of changes to the grading and results process ahead of Clearing.

The surprise announcement presents the University with some significant challenges on a practical level. We have requested further clarification from the Government on how the proposed process will work in practice and will keep you updated on this.

On a positive note, the policy change has resulted in us confirming additional applicants from those students who may now appeal their results. We have also guaranteed to admit any student who successfully appeals their calculated grade and the meets offer conditions by September (7th), the UCAS cut-off date.  

A new landing page on the corporate website has also gone live, providing further information about our stance on appeals, and any vacancies we still have available through Clearing. We are also providing further instruction to colleagues currently staffing the hotline, signposting applicants to a designated email address where they can register their intention to appeal.

Despite all these changes and challenges we have been making encouraging progress to our home undergraduate intake targets over the past week. As of this morning we have confirmed places for over 5,500 home/EU undergraduate students, with many more students likely confirmed by Academic Schools over the course of the day.

The position on Widening Participation (WP) numbers also looks positive and we are on track to meet our Office for Students (OfS) target. As a University that has social responsibility at its core, we are closely monitoring the outcomes of students who have participated in our WP access initiatives and specific WP groups, such as care-experienced students.  

Additional work has been undertaken this year to prioritise WP students during Clearing, including:

  • A contextual clearing offer (usually one grade lower) for WP students published alongside our standard clearing offer.
  • Additional functionality to the clearing hotline screen which means that staff can check whether a student’s postcode meets the eligibility for a contextual clearing offer.

Whilst this has been a challenging week for the University, we are aware the experience of prospective students has been much worse due to the uncertainty around their results. We hope that the decisions we've taken so far will help reduce some of the anxiety many of our offer holders will be feeling.

We know that our teams and colleagues will continue to do a fantastic job in providing support for our future students and we look forward to welcoming them to our University soon.