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News - 19 August 2014

University places up, grades down.

 Nearly 400,000 students secure university offers but the overall A-level pass rate falls for the first time in 32 years.

 
Education Secretary Nicky Morgan says the government is "lifting the cap on aspiration".
 
Exam officials say the results of this year's A-levels are broadly "stable". But for the third successive year the A* and A grades have fallen slightly - down from 26.3% to 26%.
 
Students who received lower grades are expected to enjoy unprecedented access to university, with up to 30,000 new places created.
 
Tonmoy Kumar, Manager of the Accounts Department of ABDS and an active school governor comments:
“A decision by the Government to abolish the cap on student numbers could have a dramatic effect on this year's cohort, with fierce competition among universities seeking to attract school leavers. Some were offering cash "scholarships", while others were offering reductions on accommodation and free tablet computers; it’s a real buyers market.”
 
The Joint Council for Qualifications, issuing the results, said there was a trend for more students to take so-called "facilitating subjects" at A-level, such as maths and physics, which can help university applications.
 
But there have been big falls in the take-up of subjects outside this mainstream group, such as a 47% drop in critical thinking and 24% fewer entries in general studies.
 
Two years ago, the Government abolished the cap on students with the highest grades, essentially paving the way for the expansion of the elite Russell Group of universities.
 
But the new expansion for students with lower grades - which could also include an additional 60,000 extra students next year - has prompted concerns about quality.
 
Jude Heaton, from Teach First, a charity set up to end inequality in education, said: "The risk is we create a two-tier system, where pupils from richer backgrounds go to the most selective institutions ... (while) people from poorer backgrounds have an almost second tier university education."
 
Earlier this week, social mobility charity Sutton Trust warned students from disadvantaged backgrounds are 10 times less likely to apply to the UK's 13 most selective universities.
 
If you need any help and advice with Free Schools, Academy Schools or Charities, contact Lavinia Newman or Peter Ham now to discuss how ABDS can help bring their experience to these matters.
 
ABDS Chartered Certified Accountants of Southampton.
Tel: 023 8083 6900 E-mail: abds@netaccountants.net
 
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