The Guardian is reporting that school leavers should apply to universities only after seeing their A-level results, a move that would end the controversial use of unconditional offers, in a major reform of the current system, according to a report backed by university staff.
The move would end the uncertainties and perverse outcomes that bedevil the current system, including bias in favour of independent school applicants, according to the report’s backers.
The reforms, backed by the Universities and College Union, would see school-leavers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland apply for courses after seeing the results of their A-level and BTec exams or other qualifications, rather than applying months beforehand, as is currently the case.
Previous pushes for reform, most recently in 2012, have been derailed by opposition from university leaders and the Ucas admissions service. But changes to funding and the removal of institutional limits on undergraduate recruitment have shifted admissions towards the interest of applicants.
The report says that the time between the end of exams and results being published at the start of August should be used to provide high-quality advice to school-leavers on their career options and potential courses.
“A higher-education system should be more than a cycle. It should be a set of support structures that enables students to make decisions about their higher-education courses and institutions,” the report, by Nartey and Graeme Atherton of the National Education Opportunities Network, states.
A shift to post-qualification applications would also end the process known as clearing, a hurried scramble for remaining places among students who failed to achieve the grades predicted by their teachers, which takes places immediately after exam results are published in mid-August.
Do you agree with this possible change? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Emma
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