Over 400,000 students to take up a place at university

Today, the government revealed that 425,830 students will be taking up a place at a UK university, which is a record for an examination year.

The last examination year was in 2019. The government said there has been a 20% increase in students having their place confirmed at their first choice university compared to then.

After 2019, exams were stopped. In 2021, grades were determined by teachers, as schools and colleges remained closed for most students until March 2021.

Statistics published in England today showed that 83% of entries for A-levels are at grade C or above – up from 76% in 2019, and down from 89% in 2021. 

Meanwhile, 36% of entries for A-levels are at grade A or above, which is up from 25% in 2019, and down from 45% in 2021. 

The government said this reflects their target set out last autumn.

They stated that as part of the Ofqual transition period back to pre-pandemic grades, AS, A level and Vocational and Technical Qualification (VTQ) results received today will be higher than in 2019.

This is in recognition of the disruption students experienced during their exam years.

The first cohort of T-level students also received their results today, with over 92% achieving a pass or above. 

Additionally, 31.9% achieved a distinction, and 2.7% achieved a distinction*.

Many have already secured their first job or an apprenticeship in areas like mechanics and digital product design.

370 students have so far been placed onto a university course, which makes up 71% of those who applied.

The government said they have been working with the higher education sector to ensure universities have been making offers that reflect the grades students have received today.

They added that if students have not received the grades they were hoping for, a record number of places are available through UCAS, as well as a range of high quality vocational and technical options. 

Students can call the National Careers Service on 0371 468 0468 for advice on their next steps.

Education Secretary James Cleverly said: “I want to congratulate students getting their results today and say a big thank you to the teachers who helped them get to this point. 

“These students have experienced unprecedented disruption over the last couple of years, and such excellent results are a testament to their resilience and hard work.

“Our plan this year was to ensure that students could sit their exams for the first time since 2019, be graded fairly and move on to the next stage of their lives as we return to normality after the pandemic.  

“We have now seen the largest number of students on record for an examination year – including a record 23,220 of disadvantaged 18-year-olds – going on to university, while many others will take their next steps in further training or the world of work.

“Regardless of what those next steps are, I wish all students the very best on this exciting new chapter in their lives.”

The Department for Education and Ofqual have said they will evaluate the arrangements this year, before finalising 2023 arrangements as early as possible in autumn.

They said the intention is to return to the pre-pandemic exam arrangements as quickly as possible, and claimed they are the best and fairest way of assessing what students know and can do.

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