Lord Wharton responds to this year’s A-level results.
Responding to this morning’s results for students studying A-levels and other equivalent qualifications, Office for Students (OfS) Chair Lord Wharton said:
'Students have worked incredibly hard under continually trying circumstances. I congratulate them on their well-deserved results today.
'This will be an exciting time for hundreds of thousands of students as they prepare to head off to university this autumn. While record numbers of students will have secured a place on their first choice course, other students will be spending the coming days finding the right course for them. Many courses will have places made available through Clearing, while the Discover Uni website lets students compare courses to see what is right for them. Others may consider alternative routes such as apprenticeships.
'This is another unusual admissions year for universities, but they must still honour the places of students who meet the terms of their offer. I have been clear that it is not acceptable for universities to put pressure on students to defer their course, or to take up a place on a different course. Incentives can be offered, but students need to be treated fairly at all times – with universities recognising that they must honour offers for students who wish to accept them. Universities need also to recognise the continuing commitments they have made in their access and participation plans, ensuring that everyone with the ability to excel in higher education has the opportunity to do so.
'The OfS warned universities and colleges in March not to risk the quality of higher education by overrecruiting to courses. When the new term starts they must make sure that students have access to high quality, well resourced provision which is academically stretching and opens students’ minds to new ideas. The OfS is currently consulting on new proposals which would give us sharper tools to take action where the quality of courses slips.
'With coronavirus restrictions removed, universities are now free to return to in-person teaching and they should have credible plans for this to be restored. Universities will be making sensible contingency plans for the possibility of further restrictions and they will want to build on some of the innovations that have served students well during the pandemic. Where some universities plan a mix of in-person and online learning, the OfS’s primary concern will continue to be around course quality and we are clear that – however teaching is delivered – students should receive a good quality experience of higher education. In making decisions about how provision will be delivered, universities and colleges must ensure that they keep students properly informed. They should take into account the views of their students when making decisions about how courses are taught.'