NUS congratulates all those students getting results today whether they are A level, T level, Vocational or technical, they should all be very proud. This is a cohort who’vefaced challenges like few before, having their journey through education disrupted by first Covid and lockdown, and then the cost-of-living crisis and spiralling inflation. According to OFQUAL, A level entries have increased by 2.3% from 788,125 in summer 2022 to 806,410 in summer 2023. This is testament to young people’s tenacity and resilience. But instead of celebrating their successes, far too many in Government and the media have called for grade suppression and suggested they need to be punished for the success of those who received their marks during lockdown.
But this year’s students continue to face significant challenges. Financial support for students in both Higher and FurtherEducationis inadequate, apprentice pay is below that needed to live, we have a broken student housing market, and a cost-of-living crisis which shows no sign of abating. Today’s studentsand apprenticesneed our support, and the government needs to implement significant and real reform, not just the piecemeal tinkering they’ve done to date.
The coming general election is the opportunity of a generation, and NUS urges students and young people to register to vote. Only by doing so can they take control of their own futures and force whichever government is elected to take notice of their demands. Going forward, apprentices need to be paid the living wage,in higher educationwe need a return to grants instead of loans and the abolition of tuition fees, while in further education we need fair funding and increased investment, and rent controls need to be implanted to fix the broken housing market.
Bernie Savage, NUS VP for Further Education, said:
“NUS opposes and condemns the marked down A-level results, which unjustly disadvantaged some of this year’s school leavers. Students have shown commitment and resilience in the face of the unprecedented challenges brought about by the pandemic and cost-of-living crisis and have navigated the disruption to their learning. But rather than celebrate their efforts, the government have sought to reduce their grades. We stand in solidarity with those who have been affected and ask universities to show them compassion and to take this into consideration when offering places. We further urge government and the media to champion students and their aspirations, provide them with the support and recognition they rightfully deserve, and ensure their success is not overshadowed by undue scepticism or unfair comparisons.”