King’s to accept offer holders who meet conditions, following Government U-turn on A-Level algorithm

bush house and traffic
Bush House from Kingsway

King’s announced on Twitter earlier yesterday that they will accept offer holders who meet their course’s entry conditions – and whose places do not depend on external funding – after the government scrapped an algorithm that initially cost many their places.

They also say courses dependent on external funding like medicine and dentistry are being worked through” with “relevant agencies” and offer holders for these courses can expect to receive updates soon.

Affected students can expect to have their offers updated directly by Ofqual via UCAS, the university has said.

Uncertainty remains for students who studied for BTEC qualifications whose grades were due to be released 4 days ago. King’s accept these for some courses when they are combined with A Levels.

Private candidates are also faced with uncertainty. Having received no standardised grade from the algorithm, they can receive an estimated grade based on “evidence” of previous work collected by their current or past assessment centres. If these centres do not have enough evidence, however, they will not be able to receive any grade at all.

Twitter user @ReachJustice asked whether King’s will “be fair” and accept private candidates with their UCAS predictions, use alternative assessments, or defer their offer until next year. King’s asked for the user to directly message their details privately.

This announcement comes after the UK government announced that A-Level grades would be decided based upon teacher assessments, following backlash to their original algorithm that took their school’s past results into consideration.

Almost 40% of this year’s A-Level students were downgraded as a result, with students from state schools disproportionately affected. This meant many lost university places which they would now be accepted for.

While Kings’ offers still depend on students having met their grades, certain Oxford university colleges and both Bristol universities have vowed to ‘honour the offer’ and admit offer holders irrespective of their grades. An open letter urging King’s to adopt this system, authored by current student R E Pitman-Wallace, has so far collected 54 signatures from King’s undergraduates, postgraduates, and alumni.

Before this, a report for the University and College Union (UCU) suggested that 200,000 fewer first-year students would enrol at UK universities for the 2020/1 academic year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the Times reported that universities now risk becoming oversubscribed, with the education secretary Gavin Williamson announcing that student number caps will be lifted so that universities can “expand and put extra capacity into the system.”

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