Today many of our students along with their families and friends are all very strongly focused on the A Level results that will emerge in the next few hours. All of us will be very proud of them and it was very helpful to see the tweet that Chichester Diocese published which is on the image here stating “Prayers today for the many young people receiving their #AlevelResults . Lots of help at hand in local schools to help make the right decisions! Take care everyone.” A few minutes later a campaigner and communicator Sophie Walker posted her tweet “Ah, A-levels results day. When everyone over the age of 50 remembers how much harder it was then.. Good luck to everyone waiting for grades today. You have come through so much already. Big love to you all. #AlevelResultsDay2022” Another person who has raised this theme is Caroline Lucas who is my MP and who had written a couple of questions that were sent over to Parliament and were answered yesterday. The questions are shown below and then the answer which Andrea Jenkyns has provided. The first question is here.
Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether UCAS plans to analyse its data to track young people who (a) receive lower A Level grades in the 2021-22 academic year than predicted as a result of their academic performance having been adversely affected by lockdown and other restrictions introduced to prevent the spread of covid-19 during 2020 and 2021 and (b) will consequently be without any Higher Education place at the end of the 2022 admission round; what discussions she has had with UCAS on steps to take to support young people in that position; and if she will make a statement.
And here is the second question
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether she has made an estimate of how the number of finally unplaced young people at the end of the 2022 university admission round will compare to years prior to the covid-19 outbreak; if she will make it her policy to (a) fund additional and specific careers guidance and pastoral support, (b) make available an additional year of full further education funding, (c) provide additional access provision in Higher Education and (d) undertake any other measures needed to support young people in that position; and if she will make a statement.
And this is the response from Andrea Jenkyns which was submitted for both of these questions
Andrea Jenkyns: The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) operates as an independent charity and is separate from the government. The department will continue to work closely with UCAS, schools, colleges, awarding organisations, and the higher education (HE) sector to support the 2022 intake of students, so they can go on to their next step in life, whether that is university, further training, or work.
In November 2021, my right hon. Friend, the former Minister for Higher and Further Education, wrote to Vice Chancellors to recognise the hard work and dedication that the sector has shown to students throughout the 2021 and 2022 admissions cycles. The former Minister asked that additional resilience is built into strategies for the 2022 HE admissions cycle. HE sector bodies were engaged through the HE Taskforce to commend them on their efforts to date and to ask that they continue to put students first.
In June 2022, UCAS reported that 281,500 UK 18-year-olds were holding a firm offer, up 7,000 on last year and the highest on record. UCAS expect more students than in previous years to gain a place at their firm choice institution. It expects that on A level and T Level Results Day the majority of students are likely to be confirmed at their firm choice. However, it is important to note that the exact numbers will not be known until 18 August, A level and T Level Results Day.
If students do not get the required grades, their preferred HE provider may still offer them a place. In the first instance, students are encouraged to talk to their school or college, or to their preferred university, who may be able to offer some flexibility. Students can also seek advice from the Exam Results Helpline run by the National Careers Service. UCAS will help thousands of students to find places through Clearing or explore other options once they have received their grades and predict that over 30,000 courses will be available. Last year, 56,225 students (10%) entered university via Clearing.
While HE opens many doors for those who study at this level, it is by no means the right option for everyone, including those with the highest grades. There are multiple options for students to progress, including HE but also traineeships, T Levels, apprenticeships, the Kickstart scheme, and higher technical qualifications.