The Bower & Collier Family History

Research by Colin Bower

Discussion Group

Online Discussions

The Discussion Group has been unable to meet indoors in a Covid-Secure way but has met up once outdoors.

We are to try fortnightly online discussions and for Discussion 1 the Questions are:

Week 1

Question 3. What can be done when there are not enough University spaces this year?

Answers to be submitted by 2 September when the Group's findings will be circulated.

Members of the Group have been encouraged to phone or meet up and submit group answers if they wish.

Answers will be collated in the website so that Members of the Group can see what others are saying.

Comments/Views

1. Following grades based on teachers' assessments, Universities have been faced with a demand for limited places.

2. Difficult. Only thing would be to offer a deferment to next year I guess.

I did read of one uni offering less fees to defer and one less expensive accommodation.

It’s a mess because of the appalling handling of the A level results of course. Universities have rejected students with lower grades than offered and now filled some of the places .

3. Terrible mess with some grades inflated.

Some places have been taken by less-deserving cases while the upgrade exercise was underway.

Presumably some students have gone through clearing to a second-choice university causing disappointment and anger

Some students could take a year out, but there may nor be the same range of opportunities available. 2020 would be a good time to start university because of the slow economic revovery. Some universities are making 2021 more attractive with discounted terms.

Government could provide extra funding so that universities could organise extra staff/places etc but diificult at such short notice.

Presumably some universities will welcome the extra numbers with the number of foreign students falling away.

4-5 (part of small group discussion) Came up with a few suggestions:

- may be able to take on more students by using online tutoring
- Universities to show more flexibility (heard that Cambridge turning students down)
- students to consider changing subject if not university (if felt to be just as good if not better)
- could alter sequence of course of study to accept more students, e.g. bringing forward placements

There was a certain amount of digression!

- it could be a false situation for some. Given grades they shouldn't have and may struggle/drop out rate may increase
- they could be known as the Class of 2020 and employers may be wary when looking at their results, e.g. some students may not have put the work in after the mocks
- 2021 may be more difficult for students when more stringent marking returns (will there be pressures to mark more leniently to smooth the transition from 2020?)
- students, who deferred in 2019 and have their places, have done well
- some students may have obtained an unexpected opportunity and may make the most of it

6. Some universities are increasing places for this year but some students will have to postpone until 2021.

Perhaps this is the opportunity to increase apprenticeships as we need plumbers, electricians etc. and it may be time to reverse the rush to a degree begun by Tony Blair.

Review of Fortnights' Questions

Only a few Members chose to sit the exam!

I spoke to someone involved in University Admissions and thought you might like to see what he had to say (though the situation would vary depending on the university):

1. All a bit of a smokescreen. Universities are painting a black picture hoping to get more money out of the Government.

2. Before Covid, it was assumed that the number of students would go up

3. No grades went down. they either stayed the same or went up.

4. Because the results were upgraded at the last minute, universities did not see the actual results ahead of time which inhibited their planning.

5. Few universities impose caps on places, e.g. Oxford and Cambridge and Medical Schools

6. It may not be as bad as it seems, e.g. losing Overseas students but getting more home students

7. Some universities have done well with extra students (with perhaps higher grades than expected)

8. Some of the universites have not done so well, as not getting the students they would normally get.

At the time of this conversation, universites were actively trying to get people through their doors.

9. If a university is over-subscribed, they my be able to get extra tutorial staff but there are limitations on space, e.g. lecture facilities and accommodation - though some towns and cities have conference capabilities.

10. The distribution of students will be odd this year but will be temporary.

11. The impact of the upgraded results is difficult to know:
- some people have been adversely affected, e.g. people who would have been on an upward trajectory and improved after the mocks and done better than teachers' assessments
- some lower-quality students may have got in.

Colin Bower
31 August 2020

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