Anyone paying attention this week will have noticed there’s been a lot of university news floating around.
Several stories have broken, coinciding with A level results. While great for those interested in higher education (as we are) it can be tricky to keep on top of.
That’s why we decided to do a roundup of our picks and a couple of hot takes thrown in for good measure.
Record number of top grades for students
Probably the biggest piece of university news was that 45% of all A level students achieved A or A* grades this year. The jump from the previous year is nothing short of staggering.
England and Wales saw a 6% increase from 2020, with Northern Ireland seeing a 19% hike. To provide some context for this meteoric rise in grades, 2019 saw 25% of students achieve top grades, 2020, 38% and 2021, 44%. .
The spike has resulted in a record number of students going to the university of their choice this year. Across the UK, 435,000 students got into their first choice which is up 5% from last year.
Considering students have had such a disruptive year, with large swathes of term time spent at home, it could seem counterintuitive that high achievement is soaring.
The stark rise in grades however coincides with our use of teacher assessments rather than exams for judging grades. Following the A level and GCSE algorithm debacle last year, teacher assessments have been used, which, according to Ofqual, are a better way of judging student performance.
Whether we will see a grading overhaul as another unexpected effect of Covid-19 (think working from home) will need to be seen.
Medical students offered cash to study elsewhere
It wasn’t long ago that university news involved students getting £10,000 fines. How things have changed.
Would-be medical students at oversubscribed universities have found themselves with a rather tantalising offer. Study somewhere else and we’ll give you £10,000 in cash. It’s a bizarre concept, especially considering the amount of effort put into maximising student numbers.
The reason is of course because far more students than expected got into their top choice university this year. Rather than risk an oversubscribed course and subsequent backlash, these shrewd institutions thought it better to buy their there way out.
This isn’t actually the first that we’ve heard of this. Exeter Uni offered a similar but even more appealing offer to prospective students back in July. If anyone was willing to defer a year they would not only receive £10,000 cash but free accommodation for a year when they enrolled.
For a young person facing three years of pot noodles and cheap cider, it poses a hard question. University of your dreams, or rich beyond your wildest?
Online learning backtrack from education minister
One of the hot topics of the Coronavirus era is how much value students are getting from their universities. Considering the cost, many have argued that students paying full whack for courses that only exist online is deeply unfair.
Our government has always been keen to return to in person lessons and earlier this week education minister Gavin Williamson issued a warning that if universities could not bring back face to face learning, they should offer discounted fees.
The issue seems to lie in the ability that the education minister has to enforce such a mandate. Williamson’s original position had been that he would give full backing to the regulator Office for Students (OfS) to enact these changes.
However the OfS have come back and said that they have no such power and the Department of Education confirmed that’s not going to change any time soon
This announcement resulted in another backtrack for Williamson, who was caught up in the A levels algorithm saga last year. Sadly for him, it seems that these events might spell the end of the road.
The education minister could soon find himself replaced by Kemi Badoneoch, a rising star within the Tory ranks.
Notlost provide game changing lost property software
While this one may not have been among the headlines, it’s still big news…
Notlost are working tirelessly to transform how universities manage their lost property enquiries. The software allows for the instant registering of found items for staff and a quick and easy self service portal for student enquires.
Our matching tool then provides the lucky students with the appropriate item and a range of collection or delivery options.
Now the process has been made easier for everyone, saving your team precious time and providing the best possible experience for your students