A post-qualification offers system could remove the need for predicted grades while still allowing universities to work with students before they apply to university, the @RussellGroup has said today (13 May 2021).

In its response to the Government’s consultation on a post-qualification admission system for higher education the Russell Group, which represents 24 of the UK’s leading universities, has said a post-qualification offers (PQO) system would be the most workable of the two options presented by Government, but only if a number of key issues can be addressed first.

Under this system, students would continue to make university applications before taking exams, with universities and colleges making offers when results are known.

This would allow universities to continue working with and supporting students ahead of their results as they do now – which is particularly important for students from widening participation backgrounds, as well as those with disabilities and mental health conditions.

Making offers after results could also remove reliance on predicted grades and see the end of conditional unconditional offer making.

However, the Russell Group has cautioned that a shift to a new admissions system will require a significant amount of time, effort and financial investment to design and implement effectively and that reform is likely to be challenging for all stakeholders, including schools and students. 

To ensure any new system is fair, workable and transparent to all applicants, the Russell Group is recommending that the Government:

  • Ensures sufficient time between exams, results, offer-making and course start dates to allow for a robust admissions process
  • Builds in flexibility and efficacy to support admissions including additional entrance testing or interviews if needed
  • Continues to protect university autonomy on admissions decisions
  • Fully considers all students, including those from under-represented groups and following non-traditional routes like mature students
  • Ensures the system supports international admissions and aligns with the devolved administrations
  • Boosts resources for information, advice and guidance (IAG) in schools and colleges.

In its response the Russell Group also recommends universities are given more access to better contextual information, including free school meals (FSM) eligibility data, so that universities can identify, target, support and track prospective applicants from disadvantaged and under-represented backgrounds.

It also warns that any reforms to university admissions must be accompanied by a wider focus on supporting the attainment of students under-represented in higher education; recommending a new national strategy to join up the efforts of universities and schools, colleges, local authorities, charities, and employers, and for this to be co-ordinated through a new Office for Tackling Inequality.

Commenting, Dr Tim Bradshaw, Chief Executive of the Russell Group, said:

“In recent years we have made great strides in improving access to higher education to try and ensure the only thing that decides whether a person goes to university is their desire, determination and potential to succeed.

“Making sure our admissions system is fair and works for everyone is crucial. A wholescale change to admissions will present significant challenges regardless of the approach but, of the options presented by Government, a PQO system – if designed appropriately – could allow universities to balance supporting students with making admissions practices fairer.

“However, if the Government is considering reforms of this scale, we believe now is the time to also consider the bigger picture and address inequality and low attainment across the education system. The UK needs a new, ambitious strategy to support this agenda and join up work by Government, universities, schools, local authorities and others.”

The full Russell Group response to the DfE’s Post-Qualification Admissions Reform Consultation can be found here.

A recent UCAS/Youthsight survey of 13,000 current applicants found that 70 per cent favoured a system that retains the ability for them to submit applications before exams.

To ensure any new admissions system is fair, workable and transparent to all applicants, the Russell Group recommends the DfE considers the following principles to underpin its functionality:

  • Ensuring there is sufficient time between exams, results, offer-making and course start dates to run a robust and comprehensive admissions process without significant delays to the start of term.
  • Building in the flexibility and efficacy to support admissions across the full range of courses and institutions across the sector, including those which require additional testing or interviews.
  • Ensuring that higher education in the UK remains internationally competitive in attracting overseas students, and that the admissions process effectively supports them to join UK universities.
  • Boosting resources for information, advice and guidance (IAG) in schools and colleges to improve the quality of support provided, especially if applications or offers are made outside of term time.
  • Ensuring consideration is given to the transition period between the current system and the new one.
  • Developing any new system in consultation with those in the Devolved Administrations to ensure it functions for institutions across the UK.
  • Continuing to protect university autonomy on admissions decisions.
  • Ensuring the system fully considers all students, including those who do not follow traditional routes into higher education such as mature students and private candidates.

The Russell Group action plan to transform opportunities for disadvantaged and under-represented students, Pathways for Potential: How universities, regulators and Government can tackle educational inequality, can be found here.

Ofqual’s response to the Department for Education’s consultation on Post Qualification Admissions reform 

Post Qualifications Admissions consultation response

Ofqual welcome the government’s consultation on PQA. They understand the wish to improve the current admissions arrangements and stand ready to help to bring this about. They recognise the benefits that could be achieved through PQA.

Ofqual are keen to support the reform and are confident that the qualifications system can play its part in delivering changes that the government wishes to see. However, any changes to the timing of exams, marking and results must be able to be safely delivered, and any resulting new risks must be manageable. As the qualifications regulator in England, it is right that Ofqual set out their considerations of both how PQA might safely be achieved and the risks associated with any change.

Post-qualification admissions in higher education: proposed changes

@EducationGovUK are seeking views on proposed changes to higher education admissions to a system of post-qualification admissions (#PQA): 

This consultation follows the commitment from Government to level up the university admissions system and seeks views on whether to change the current system of higher education admissions and move to a system of post-qualification admissions (PQA).

This document sets out the rationale for reform, whilst seeking views on the current admissions process and sets out potential models for a PQA system, seeking views on delivery.

We will analyse the responses from this consultation carefully – including evidence on the impact on schools, colleges, providers and other organisations – before taking final decisions on whether and how to introduce a PQA system.

This consultation closed at

Consultation description

We are seeking views on proposed changes to the current system of higher education admissions to a system of PQA.

This consultation follows the commitment from the government to level up the university admissions system.

You may also be interested in these articles:

Sponsored Video

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Advertisers

Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Newsroom Activity

Solvendis added a new event 17 hours

Designated Safeguarding Lead Training (Zoom Conferencing)

A provider’s Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) plays a critical role in its approach to safeguarding its learners, training its staff, providing...

  • Wednesday, 15 September 2021 10:00 AM
  • Zoom Conferencing
Solvendis added a new event 17 hours

Level 3 Award in Education & Training (Zoom Conferencing)

  • Thursday, 23 September 2021 10:00 AM
  • Zoom Conferencing
Solvendis added a new event 17 hours

Ofsted Inspection Nominee Training (Zoom Conferencing)

Within inspection, Ofsted invites providers to nominate a senior member of staff to act as the main link with the inspection team. Ofsted suggests...

  • Friday, 23 July 2021 10:00 AM
  • Zoom Conferencing

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In Jan 2021, FE News had over 173,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector, putting us in the top 2,000 websites in the UK.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.

Podcasts

We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.

Events

FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page