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If you have a Year 13, have they been offered a guaranteed deferred place at their uni if they achieve the grades in Autumn A-levels?

(15 Posts)
wonderwhatnext Sun 26-Apr-20 12:52:48

Hi, my DS has been reading a lot on TSR about unis offering deferred places to A-level students who don’t make the grades via teacher assessment but then manage to bump them up in the Oct/Nov exams.

I think it’s only right that the current Year 13s should have the chance to prove themselves as this is a safety net against variations in teacher competence / subjectivity.

However, surely this policy is going to be highly problematic for various reasons - in particular -

- It will clearly disadvantage the following year’s cohort if a significant proportion have to defer. What are unis proposing to do about this? What is the plan?

- There are unlikely to be the usual “gap year” opportunities for those who do defer due to likely travel restrictions and social distancing measures in the workplace. Hardly the time for companies to be taking on student placements / volunteers / extra staff I would t have thought? So essentially a wasted year for this year’s cohort which is likely to be even less appealing following the current lockdown situation.

I think this is poorly thought through and I don’t know why they couldn’t have just got the A-level exams ready for early Sept (surely they are written anyway) and made preparations to get them marked quickly so that students could still have made their places this year in Oct. Even if they had to start a few weeks late, surely it’s better than a whole year out and the repercussions on the 2021 cohort?

What do people think?

OP’s posts: |
Ironoaks Sun 26-Apr-20 12:58:30

DS's firm choice have said that they will do this, but he'd rather start at his insurance choice this autumn than wait a year to start at his firm choice in 2021. He is keen to start the course (even if this means starting online).

wonderwhatnext Sun 26-Apr-20 13:21:06

I guess it’s just trying to get a sense of which unis are adopting this policy and which are not. For instance, apparently Exeter have indicated they will offer deferred places - can anyone confirm this though? DS is now saying he might as well apply to Durham instead. Also, Cambridge are offering deferrals, but not Oxford (yet)?

I think it would be helpful if unis could reassure prospective applicants so as not to affect the decision-making process.

OP’s posts: |
bpisok Sun 26-Apr-20 14:50:57

Problem with pushing the exams back to September/Oct/Nov (or any other arbitrary date being bandied about) is that the government don't know when lockdown will/can end and even when it's lifted we don't know what that looks like nor how long before/if a lockdown is reimposed.

So the safest option is the one they have chosen or else all Year 11 & 13 s would be on-pause and faced with even more uncertainty.

No one knows when and in what guise Unis will open because no one knows what the situation will be next month let alone in Sept.

Unis are likely to accept more dropped grades than usual (fewer internationals and they need bums on seats) which could be a reason to grab the opportunity. If they accept more dropped grades then there's no need to retake in the Autumn.

Besides, if Unis aren't properly open then there's also going to be s*d-all for them to do on a gap year other than to get bored in their bedrooms!!!

KingscoteStaff Sun 26-Apr-20 15:05:09

DS asked this exact question 'Will you honour your 2020 offer if I choose to sit the exam in the Autumn and therefore start in 2021?' on the Durham Virtual Offer Holder Day and the admissions dept said that no decisions had been made yet.

wonderwhatnext Sun 26-Apr-20 15:27:02

Yes I could see if less international students come for this October (highly likely) then unis will probably be more flexible in accepting dropped grades, so at least this may mitigate the knock-on impact for 2021.

I think more students will be likely to defer for unis and courses they have already had to go through an interview process for. Maybe if they had to reapply all over again they wouldn’t bother, but now that this hurdle is removed, deferrals are more likely. So it will impact medical degrees, Oxbridge and any other courses with a more involved admissions process, I suspect? Especially if they only narrowly miss a grade - they will want to prove the teachers wrong!

I wonder if unis might be prepared to take a bulge year in 2021 if they do have a large deferred cohort, so as not to penalise 2021 applicants? Or if they may reduce the overseas quota to adjust for the 2020 carry over?

I realise nobody had the answers yet - just speculating!

OP’s posts: |
goodbyestranger Sun 26-Apr-20 15:43:44

DD4hasn't had any such offer from Oxford which she's firmed and Durham - her insurance (or rather 'insurance'!) - are keen to stress that they're looking forward to a normal face to face academic year starting in October.

bpisok Sun 26-Apr-20 15:53:31

I think on a previous thread 4 of us whose DC have Oxbridge offers said that they would not defer and would go to their insurance choices rather than retake in autumn/defer

The maths bods also aren't likely to retake. Apparently with maths you 'use it or you lose it'...not having ever had 'it' in the first place I can't comment 😀

SirTobyBelch Sun 26-Apr-20 17:02:40

I don’t know why they couldn’t have just got the A-level exams ready for early Sept (surely they are written anyway) and made preparations to get them marked quickly so that students could still have made their places this year in Oct.

1. The teachers who mark A-level exam scripts will be teaching in September (one way or another), so it will take longer for papers to be marked then than it does through the summer. There is a plan to have exams in September but marks aren't expected until December, even with the expected much smaller number of scripts.

2. Only getting confirmation of your university place in October gives you little or no time to arrange student finance and accommodation.

wonderwhatnext Sun 26-Apr-20 18:04:02

Yes good point about needing time to arrange accommodation and finance. Of course.

OP’s posts: |
Ellmau Sun 26-Apr-20 19:28:19

They may be thinking only a small minority will actually do better in the exams.

onlyreadingneverposting8 Sun 26-Apr-20 20:09:24

I heard that they'd cancelled the idea of the October exams now?? My Ds is taking a year out and we're emigrating so not affected. He has mentioned that his close friends have had offers from their firmed uni choice lowered.

MarchingFrogs Sun 26-Apr-20 21:07:51

Only getting confirmation of your university place in October gives you little or no time to arrange student finance and accommodation.

Re finance, you apply now and change the details re the actual university being attended when that is confirmed (the closing date for guaranteed payment of first instalments at the normal start of term is late May, at which point even in a normal year, some on-time applicants won't have had all their responses, let alone those who apply late).

SeasonFinale Mon 27-Apr-20 10:16:45

They definitely have not cancelled the Autumn exams although it will be up to individual exam boards if they do not run very undersubscribed exams then. There is no date set for the Autumn exam series as yet.

Also it is not just a case of sending out papers an recruiting people to mark them. Rooms need to be sorted out to hold them in, access arrangements ascertained and invigilators booked.

AChickenCalledDaal Tue 28-Apr-20 15:53:39

DD has had this guarantee from Cambridge but not from St Andrews. I had the same thought about the impact on Year 12, but I suspect most people that miss their Firm will want to get on with life and will take up their Insurance/Clearing offer. I would think there could be some very nice offers in Clearing if the number of international students plummets.

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