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A-level results day: Fears grow over unconditional university offers as some students stop attending school

Fears in regards to the rising use of unconditional gives by universities are rising after it emerged that some A-level college students stopped going to high school as soon as they’d secured a assured place at college.

Ministers need to clamp down on universities which might be irresponsibly handing out locations on diploma programs to sixth-formers, no matter their A-level grades, in a bid to place “bums on seats”.

A government source told the i that training secretary Damian Hinds held conferences on A-level results day with senior figures from the colleges watchdog, the Workplace for College students, and Ucas.

The Division for Training (DfE) stated it expects the regulator “to take applicable motion”.

Recent figures from Ucas present that almost 1 / 4 of 18-year-olds in England, Wales and Northern Eire have been handed at the least one assured place on a level course no matter their grades.

Nearly 68,000 unconditional gives have been made this yr, in comparison with lower than three,000 5 years in the past, the information reveals.

Headteachers have renewed requires an finish to the observe after it emerged this week that some faculties had seen their A-level cross charges fall dramatically because of an increase in unconditional gives.

Sir John Rowling, chair of Companions in Excellence (PiXL), a community of faculties in England and Wales, told Tes that some students were not going to school after they obtained the gives.

One faculty within the north of England noticed its cross fee (A* to E grades) drop from 74 per cent final yr to simply 14 per cent this yr – with 40 college students being handed unconditional gives.

The proportion of scholars gaining pass grades at A-level nationally dropped to its lowest level in eight years amid concerns that unconditional offers and examination reforms would have an effect.

A DfE spokesperson stated: “Giving out unconditional locations simply to place ‘bums on seats’ not solely undermines the credibility of the college system however does college students a disservice by distracting them from their research and swaying their choices.

“We’re involved in regards to the rise in unconditional gives. The Workplace for College students are intently monitoring the quantity being issued and we absolutely anticipate them because the regulator to take applicable motion.”

Chatting with The Unbiased about unconditional gives forward of outcomes day, Michael Barber, chair of the Workplace for College students, stated: “Some universities appear to be reducing the tariff as a result of they’re apprehensive about not recruiting sufficient college students.

“I feel the sector wants to consider this very exhausting.”

There was intense competitors amongst universities to draw college students this yr.

Figures released on Thursday by Ucas confirmed the overall variety of college students accepted onto programs was down 1 per cent in contrast with the identical level in 2017.

Nevertheless the proportion of 18-year-olds being accepted on to programs broke information.

In an exclusive interview with The Independent earlier this yr, Ucas boss Clare Marchant known as for an pressing rethink on universities utilizing unconditional gives across-the-board.

Universities minister Sam Gyimah has beforehand branded the rise in unconditional gives as “irresponsible” and has warned that the observe might undermine the credibility of the system.

And on Thursday, Mr Hinds stated he was “involved” in regards to the fee of development in these gives.

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