Current Affairs

BREAKING: Government U-turn on admissions policy

The government has today announced a U-turn in its assessment policy for A-Levels and GCSEs in England, following several days of outrage from students, parents and teachers alike.

Pupils’ grades will now be based on teacher assessments alone, with exams regulator Ofqual confirming that the controversial algorithm has been scrapped.

The news comes as more Oxford colleges accept all UK offer-holders regardless of whether they have met the grades required in their conditional offers.

It remains to be seen how this new policy will affect admissions to Oxford, with many colleges guaranteeing places either this year or starting in 2021 for students who successfully appeal their grades.

In several statements, colleges have said that they are now at full capacity and cannot admit any more students this academic year. It is unclear how decisions will be made as to which students (many of whom might now have achieved their required grades) will be admitted starting in October 2020, and who will have their places deferred until 2021.

The latest University advice for students says: “if you have not met the conditions of your offer by 13 August, but hope to do so by the UCAS deadline of 7 September and you believe that deferring the start of your course until autumn 2021 would have serious consequences for you, then please contact now the college that made you an offer (or your underwriting college for open offer candidates) as a matter of urgency.”

The news follows statements from both Northern Ireland and Wales earlier today regarding A-Levels and GCSE results. In Northern Ireland, only GCSE results would be based solely on grades provided by teachers, whilst in Wales, teacher assessments will be used for both A-Levels and GCSEs.

The mounting pressure over the weekend from students, schools and politicians of all parties came just days before hundreds of thousands of students were due to find out their GCSE results on Thursday.

This article was updated with the University’s advice statement at 16:47 on 17/08/20.

Max Spokes

Max (he/him) is Environment News Editor at The Oxford Blue for Michaelmas 2020. He is in his second year studying History and Politics at Balliol.