Oxbridge ‘much less versatile’ amid A-level grade inflation crackdown



xbridge schools are “much less versatile” this yr with regard to admitting the brightest college leavers, a headteacher at one of many nation’s main academy chains has mentioned.

Alison Downey, principal of Ark Putney Academy in south-west London, mentioned high-achieving pupils are discovering it harder to get accepted into Oxford or Cambridge College than in earlier years.

She mentioned A-level outcomes at her college mirror nationwide developments of high marks edging nearer to 2019 ranges, the final time college students sat A-level exams earlier than the pandemic.

Round 60,000 fewer A and A* grades had been awarded to this yr’s cohort on Thursday – the sharpest fall on report – after examination boards had been ordered to crack down on grade inflation.

I feel it is much less versatile on the high finish for the elite universities, however that’s to be anticipated given what number of kids deferred final yr

Entries receiving the highest grades of A* and A are down 8.4 factors from a report 44.8% final yr to 36.4% – however nonetheless up on 25.4% in 2019 when academics’ predictions had been used.

4 out of 10 British candidates who utilized to high universities this summer season had been rejected, analysis has discovered, typically in favour of abroad college students who pay greater tuition charges.

Ms Downey, who leads one of many 39 colleges within the Ark Belief, one in every of Britain’s best-performing academy chains, mentioned universities general are being versatile with admissions.

However she instructed the PA information company: “I feel it’s much less versatile on the high finish for the elite universities, however that’s to be anticipated given what number of kids deferred final yr.”

Requested if she was referring to Oxbridge, she replied: “Sure.”

“It has been troublesome however, as in any circumstance, the youngsters who’ve labored the toughest have gotten what they deserve,” she added.

Lots of Britain’s most selective universities had been over-subscribed when grades shot up through the pandemic.

It meant that 9 Russell Group universities, excluding Oxbridge, provided college students money and different incentives totalling virtually £9 million to defer their locations final yr.

House is especially tight at Oxford and Cambridge as many first and third-year college students dwell in faculty lodging and have one-to-one tutorials.

There have been blended feelings for college students opening their outcomes slips at Ark Putney Academy on Thursday morning, a part of essentially the most disrupted cohort of scholars because the Second World Conflict.

Somalian refugee Nagma Abdi, 18, secured her first selection of the London Faculty of Economics to check social anthropology, with grades of ABC.

Reflecting on the “fairly difficult” previous two years, she mentioned: “We weren’t certain whether or not the exams would occur; then there have been questions on grade boundaries and the (examination) questions as a result of we’ve had modified curriculums.”

However Igor Kurnik, 18, missed his gives for the College of Warwick and the College of Nottingham by simply two marks, scoring all Bs relatively than ABB, and is now coming into the Ucas clearing course of to get a spot elsewhere.

“Everybody can put excuses out, and the one one I can consider is that we didn’t have GCSE exams to arrange, so that may have impacted the quantity of revision individuals did,” he mentioned.

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