UNIVERSITY-BOUND: Top grades down but record number of students get university place
A RECORD number of students have secured a university place, the Ucas university admissions service has confirmed.
Hundreds of thousands of teenagers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland received their A-level results today (Aug 13) and while the proportion of top A-level grades has fallen slightly this year, 409,000 university places have been confirmed - three per cent up on last year.
Initial figures from Ucas show a five per cent increase in places for 18 year olds in the UK, but few among older age groups.
However, the number of pupils being awarded the highest marks dropped below 26 per cent for the first time since the Government began efforts to halt “relentless” grade inflation five years ago.
A* and A grades were awarded to 25.9 per cent of entries, down from 26 per cent last year. But in a year of "stable" results, passes rose by 0.1 percentage point.
The gender gap has widened further, with 27,000 more women than men about to start courses this year.
The number of international students and from the European Union has also increased.
Universities minister Jo Johnson hailed the rising numbers as "great news".
"The over-riding message from this year's figures is one of stability. There have been no significant changes to the system," said Michael Turner, director of the Joint Council for Qualifications.
The overall pass rate has risen marginally to 98.1 per cent and the proportion getting the very top A* grade remained the same at 8.2 per cent, with A grades down by 0.1 per cent.
Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary, Tristram Hunt MP, congratulated “all the young people receiving their results today”, but warned, “as a country we still waste far too much potential”.
“This country’s future success depends upon making sure every young person has the opportunity to fulfill their potential. At the moment, the Government’s narrow and backward-looking education policies are simply not up to that task.”
Any unallocated university places will be matched with students with the right grades through the process known as Clearing.