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Saturday, June 25, 2022

Oxford honours A-level students’ offers after government U-turn

The University of Oxford will honour its offer to all applicants whose A-level Centre Assessed Grades meet their conditional offer, although some may have to defer to 2021 entry.

This comes after the government announced that A-level results will be based on teachers’ predictions rather than the Ofqual algorithm, increasing the number of students who meet their offer.

The University’s policy does not apply to courses with externally enforced caps on student numbers such as Medicine.

Oxford said it “welcomes the government’s announcement” and is “delighted” to admit additional students.

Before the government’s announcement, the University had rejected some unsuccessful offer-holders and says that it now has “many more offer-holders meeting their grades than in a normal year”. It has committed to admitting all new offer-holders “either this year or next”.

Oxford has not stated how many more offer-holders will be admitted for 2020 entry. After A-level results day, the University told Cherwell: “We… do not have space to admit any more students while meeting social distancing restrictions and other health and safety challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

In January, Oxford made 3,900 offers for an expected 3,287 places. Before the Government announcement on Monday, Oxford confirmed 3,440 students had received offers, including over 300 students who missed their grades under the Ofqual algorithm.

As a result of the larger cohort, Oxford is facing “significant capacity constraints both within our colleges and on our academic courses.”

The University said: “Since results day, Oxford University and our colleges have been working hard to support offer holders from disadvantaged backgrounds who were disproportionately issued grades below their conditional offer. We felt this was an unacceptable situation, having previously shared our deep reservations about the algorithm approach with Ofqual. As part of our admissions process, and after carefully reviewing each applicant, we accepted over 300 students who missed their offers under the Ofqual algorithm…

“We will need to ensure we minimise the risk to the health of our staff and students caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, whilst also protecting the quality and the personalised nature of our teaching. We are now working to ensure everyone who has met their offer conditions under the new CAG policy can be admitted either this year or next. As such, we are reviewing the capacity on our courses and within colleges and will confirm the position to offer holders as soon as we can.

“We warmly congratulate all our successful new students and look forward to welcoming them to Oxford.”

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