Articles from Office for Students (OfS)

Office for Students highlights need for fairness for all students with centre assessed grades

The @OfficeStudents (OfS) has welcomed the certainty that #ALevel students can now rely on centre assessed grades this year, and called for universities to take all reasonable steps to ensure students receive places on their chosen courses.

Impact of coronavirus on projects supporting student mental health: sharing of emerging practice

An independent report has been published today (5 Aug) which explores the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on the delivery of ten #MentalHealth projects, funded through the @OfficeStudents Challenge Competition  "The impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) on the OfS Mental Health Challenge Competition" is the first report published through the two-year programme and has been developed to contribute to the emerging body of practice exploring and responding to the impact of the pandemic.

Lower A-level grades from unconditional offers lead to higher dropout rates, warns regulator

@officestudents (OfS) has today reiterated that unconditional offers risk pushing students into decisions that are not in their best interests, as updated analysis shows that young people who accepted unconditional offers before sitting their A-level exams are less likely to continue into their second year of study. The analysis finds that, even after controlling for a range of characteristics associated with dropout rates, A-level entrants who accepted an unconditional offer in 2017-18 had a continuation rate between 0.4 and 1.1 percentage points lower than would have been expected had they taken up a conditional offer instead. This translates to between 70 and 175 of the 15,725 A-level entrants placed through unconditional offers that year.

The Office for Students proposes tougher measures to protect students if universities run into financial trouble

@OfficeStudents - Universities and other higher education providers facing the greatest financial risks will need to put in place arrangements to protect students in the event that they have to close, under new proposals announced by England’s higher education regulator today (17 Jul). 

‘Three months to make a difference’ for disabled students

Chris Millward, Director for Fair Access and Participation @OfficeStudents and a DSC commissioner, said: ‘The pandemic has had a major impact on disabled students’ lives and their experience of higher education. The DSC’s rapid and in-depth engagement with disabled students has identified the particular challenges and barriers they face and how universities and colleges have transformed their learning, teaching and support. Many of these innovations will provide lasting benefits, provided that universities put the needs of disabled students at the heart of their planning for the next academic year.

Higher education outreach during the pandemic

The @OfficeStudents (OfS) has today (9 Jul) published a briefing note looking at the practical ways in which universities, colleges and other organisations are continuing to support disadvantaged students through outreach programmes during the pandemic. Through higher education outreach, universities and colleges work with schools, local authorities and third sector organisations to encourage people who might not have traditionally considered higher education to do so by raising awareness and expectations, challenging barriers and providing opportunities. However, coronavirus restrictions including school and university closures mean that many of these activities are not currently possible, requiring other ways to engage potential students.

Regulator bans controversial ‘conditional unconditional’ offers during pandemic

@officestudents and @michelledonelan comment on regulator's ban of controversial ‘conditional unconditional’ offers during pandemic

Briefing note published on supporting disabled students during the pandemic

@officestudents (OfS) has today published a briefing note looking at the range of different approaches that universities and colleges are taking to support disabled students during the pandemic. Many disabled students already face challenges during their time in higher education that students without a known disability do not. In an Insight brief on disabled students published last year, the OfS highlighted that disabled students are less likely to continue their degrees, graduate with a good degree, and progress onto a highly skilled job or further study.

Sir Michael Barber highlights achievements of OfS, as he agrees new digital role

Sir Michael Barber has highlighted significant achievements secured at the @OfficeStudents (OfS) in an exchange of letters with Education Secretary @GavinWilliamson published today (24 Jun) which confirm that he will not seek a second term as chair. 

Supporting graduate employability during the pandemic

The @officestudents (OfS) has today published a briefing note looking at the practical ways in which universities, colleges and other organisations are supporting students with their entry to the graduate job market during the pandemic. With some employers having to make redundancies, freeze recruitment, and scale back graduate outreach as a result of COVID-19’s effect on the economy, many students are facing disruption to their plans for the future. Apprentices are also facing significant challenges, with recent research from the Sutton Trust suggesting that only 39 per cent of apprenticeships are continuing as normal.

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