School Standards Minister Nick Gibb congratulates everyone collecting their results today, Universities Minister Jo Johnson writes for the Telegraph to mark results day, and we highlight how others are reacting to today's news.
School Standards Minister Nick Gibb said:
Congratulations to everyone collecting their results today, which are the culmination of years of hard work by students and teachers. I wish everyone getting their results success as they embark on the next stage of their lives. With a growing jobs market, the choice of a high quality apprenticeship, university or college place on offer, I’m confident that with hard work and commitment, whatever option they pursue they will go on to fulfil their potential.
We want to make our country a place where there is no limit on anyone’s ambition or what they can achieve. It is hugely encouraging that this year sees a record 424,000 applicants already securing a place at one of our world-class universities, with increasing numbers from disadvantaged backgrounds gaining a place as well.
AS and A levels
- Overall entries and results for A levels remain stable.
- We are seeing huge numbers of students taking the A level subjects that will give them the greatest choice of university courses. Alongside this our AS level reforms mean we can be confident young people will sit exams at the right time and develop the knowledge and understanding they need to master their subject without the sixth form years being dominated by continual exams.
- Entries and attainment remain stable in the A level subjects that give students the greatest options of university course.
- Mathematics remains the most popular subject at A level and attainment remains stable.
- The proportion of students studying STEM subjects at A level remains stable.
- It is encouraging to see an increasing number of students taking A level computing which increased by 16% this year.
- AS entries have shown a drop this year - we believe that this is largely driven by schools and colleges starting to take the opportunity offered by the new decoupled AS qualification and we welcome this change.
- Today is yet another record for university entrants with 424,000 applicants, including students from disadvantaged backgrounds, already securing a place at one of our world-class universities.
- Students who have not yet secured a place at university can use the Clearing service to look for an alternative, the UCAS exam results hotline is on 0808 100 8000 and can help advise anyone on what to do next.
- The government is committed to ensuring that everyone with the ability can benefit from a degree, and our new higher education reforms will create a transparency revolution to shine a light on inequality and give young people the information they need to choose the course that’s right for them.
To mark A level results day, the Universities Minister Jo Johnson has also written in today’s Telegraph that we want universities to wipe out mediocre teaching and drive up student engagement. Read the Minister's full article.
Reaction to today's results
Sharon Hague, senior vice president, Pearson Qualifications Service, said:
There is a popular misconception that the reforms were about making things harder than the current qualifications.
You need to bear in mind that some of the qualifications were more than a decade old so the drivers around reform was about refreshing the content and making sure the specifications that people were following really reflected employers and higher education needed from young people.
The idea wasn’t so much about upping the level of demand, it was about really making those who halo fictions up to date and I think a really good example of that is the sciences.
The growing popularity of economics as an A level subject is an encouraging sign that young people recognise they need to gather the skills for the industry.
Andrew Hall, chief executive of the AQA, has said:
It was “a clear and stable set of results” that showed there had been a “safe delivery of the new qualifications” despite fears of turbulence. A “very, very small” drop in students getting A* – 836 grades out of the tens of thousands of entries. “It’s not statistically significant,” he said.
He said the decline in modern languages continued but there was some encouragement that efforts to address the low numbers of A*s via changes to the assessment process had paid off. The percentage of students getting A* in German rose by 1.3 percentage points; in French it was up by 0.7 percentage points and in Spanish by 0.3 points. Uptake of Spanish, which seen an improvement in previous years, dipped 2.7% this year.
Mary Curnock Cook, chief executive of UCAS, said:
424,000 [students] have been placed, which is the highest number ever. This means young people are around 4% more likely to go to university this year.
Last year over 60,000 were placed through clearing. This has really changed over the last few years and evolved into an acceptable late-application route. It's not a bargain basement for courses. Universities are really slick now the caps are off places. Universities are keen to recruit people.
I mentioned that young people are 4% more likely to go to university this year, but that's 7% for the disadvantaged group. We still need to do more, but it's a good step.
We work with all universities. Whenever we look at the date, improvements in GCSEs drive improvements in this area. We're seeing that with the interventions governments have made over the years. This will flow through to universities.
Everyone in the sector recognises that a teaching excellence framework gives students confidence. They are taking on debt, and should have the framework of quality.
Mark Bedlow, chief delivery officer of the OCR examination board, said:
There was a lot of concern about how this would go. One of the two key messages to take away from today is that both schools and candidates have got through this first stage of reform extremely successfully.
UCAS exam results helpline
Telephone: 0808 100 8000