A Level results day and university admissions may be changing - what plans could mean

Thursday, 21st January 2021, 4:14 pm
Updated Thursday, 21st January 2021, 4:15 pm
A Level students may receive their grades earlier than normal this year (Photo: Shutterstock)
A Level students may receive their grades earlier than normal this year (Photo: Shutterstock)

A Level students may receive their grades earlier than normal this year, while the university admissions process could be pushed back.

The proposals come as part of the UK government’s plans to reform the admissions system, which would see university offers made after results day.

A Level student may receive their grades earlier than normal this year, while the university admissions process could be pushed back.

The proposals come as part of the UK government’s plans to reform the admissions system, which would see university offers made after results day.

Changing timetables

The Department for Education (DfE) has launched its consultation on moving to a post-qualifications admissions (PQA) system, where applicants will receive university places based on their actual exam results, rather than predicted grades.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said the current use of predicted grades limits students’ aspirations and disproportionately affects children from the most disadvantaged backgrounds.

In the foreword to the consultation, he said: “I want to smash through ceilings that are preventing students from reaching their full potential, and I believe exploring this reform will help to do that.”

One option being considered would see students apply to university and receive offers from institutions after A Level results day, while a second would allow students to make applications during term-time, as they do now, but offers would only be made after they receive their results.

When is results day likely to be?

Under both models, it is proposed that results day would be brought forward from the middle of August to the end of July, while the university term would begin “no earlier than the first week of October”.

Using this timetable for the school year would allow universities more time to process applications.

Exams could also be held earlier in the year, but “the feasibility and impact of this” will need to be explored further, the consultation says.

The consultation is also considering whether personal statements should be removed from the application process as evidence suggests advantaged students are more likely to receive support and guidance with them.

Universities Minister Michelle Donelan said: “It has never been more important to level the playing field to ensure young people of all backgrounds have the very best opportunities to succeed for the future.“We know the current system of using predicted grades for university admissions can let down pupils from the most disadvantaged backgrounds and limit aspirations.

“That is why we are consulting and working with the sector to explore how to achieve a system which works better to propel students into promising opportunities, and allows schools, colleges and universities to support them to reach their full potential.”