Bedales backs review of university admissions
In a blog for HMC (the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference), Magnus Bashaarat welcomes a forthcoming review of the university admissions system, recently announced by the Office for Students (OfS).
The review has arisen from concern about the extent to which universities now hand out unconditional offers to students applying prior to sitting their A levels. Magnus says: “Those students receiving such offers – secure in the knowledge that a place is in the bag – must deal with the temptation to believe that their work has been done. Of course, taking their foot off the pedal at this point may see their standards slip and ability to cope at university diminished, and the risk of a CV tainted by unimpressive A levels. And pity the poor school teachers to whom it falls to keep potentially demotivated students going when they have more legitimate demands on their time.”
At Bedales, students and teachers are protected to an extent from such risks. Approximately half of 6.2 students apply to university in advance of results, and of these around a quarter will typically then not take up offers for the following autumn. Rather, many Bedales students who want to go to university will apply having received their results, taking a gap year, and consequently benefitting from time to consider their options after experiencing new things and growing into themselves a little more. Accordingly, work, apprenticeships and other possibilities are all firmly on the agenda of Bedales Professional Guidance staff.
Finally, Magnus doubts the long term value of unconditional offers to universities themselves, should they find themselves accommodating students who can’t keep up or, worse, drop out. He says: “Mature young people making suitable choices ought to appeal to universities, if their principal objective in admissions is to get the right students onto the right courses. There is no long-term upside to any student finding out the hard way that the pace and level, or even the subject itself, are not for them.”
The full article can be read on the HMC website here.