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Universities UK position on post-qualification admissions

Universities UK media release, 12 November, 2003

Universities UK notes the recent publication of the DfES issues paper on post-qualification applications (PQA). The Minister's support for the universities' stated view that PQA will need more consideration and cross-UK support if it is to work in practice is welcomed.

Universities UK reiterates its support, in principle, for PQA. However, for PQA to be accepted by all education stakeholders it must be compatible with both the university and school year, and the timing of national examinations. Universities UK has also stated consistently that PQA must support - rather than hamper - the objectives of widening participation, based on a fair and thorough admissions process.

For these reasons the DfES's intention to consult widely on this report and to find a way to deliver PQA which takes on board the practical implications for all education stakeholders is welcomed.

Universities UK believes a later start date for universities would not be acceptable for most HEIs for the following reasons:

It could deter applications from lower socio-economic groups, as it would affect those students who have no financial support between the end of examinations in the summer and January in the following year. A lengthening of the gap between the end of examinations and the beginning of the new term could mean more prospective students dropping out before entering HE,

It could seriously affect applications from international students, who are likely to prefer to go to other countries whose academic year starts in the autumn,

Teacher training courses would no longer be compatible with the school year – which is essential for developing classroom practice elements of courses,

Such a change removes HEIs' autonomy over their admissions processes.

Professor Ivor Crewe, President, Universities UK, said: "We are encouraged that the report acknowledges the need to consider the outcomes of Mike Tomlinson’s 14-19 Reform of the curriculum and assessment, and Professor Schwartz's Review of Higher Education Admissions, both of which are due next year. Other recent developments which have a bearing on this include proposals for a six-term school year, and the use of new technology to speed up the processing of exam results."

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Last updated: 21 November 2003 15:25
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