Record university offers as top A-level grades slip

The BBC is reporting in an overview of the A-level results that a record numbers of UK university places have been offered – as A-level results show a marginal fall in top grades for the fifth successive year.

The proportion of A* and A grades was 25.8%, down by 0.1% on last year. The pass rate of 98.1% remained the same.

The Ucas admissions services says 424,000 places have been offered, up by 3% on results day last year.

Clearing

There are about 41,000 places available in clearing, a slight rise on last year.

Sheffield University says its clearing service took 1,800 calls in the first two hours, leading to 360 offers. 

“There’s never been a better year to be applying to university in terms of your chances of getting a place, said Sheffield’s head of admissions Lynsey Hopkins. 

Trends in Results

Girls continue to get better results than boys, with 79.7% of girls getting grades A* to C, compared with 75% for boys.

But the gap between the very top-performing girls and boys at A-level has narrowed for the first time in five years. 

Boys tend to do better at the top grade, this is partly due to the nature of the subjects they choose. And there has been a decline in entries to foreign languages.

Apprenticeships

There is a demographic dip in the number of school leavers and the removal of any limit on student numbers in England means that universities could be competing to attract students to fill places.

But students starting at England’s universities in the autumn could face higher fees than the previous cap of £9,000 before they finish.

A study from the Social Market Foundation, also released on results day, shows that vocational qualifications are an increasingly common route into university, often in combination with A-levels.

School standards minister Nick Gibb said: “We want to make our country a place where there is no limit on anyone’s ambition or what they can achieve.”

“It is hugely encouraging that this year sees a record 424,000 applicants already securing a place at one of our world-class universities, with increasing numbers from disadvantaged backgrounds gaining a place as well. “

More at: Record university offers as top A-level grades slip

How did your A-level students fare? Are those thinking about university worried about fees? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or on Twitter. ~ Sophie

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